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House Bill 17 — Public funds, abortion, prohibit

House Bill 17 — Public funds, abortion, prohibit

Parrish Miller
January 30, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 17 prevents the use of public money to fund abortions but makes numerous exceptions to comply with federal edicts. 

Rating: 0

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt?

House Bill 17 creates Chapter 97, Title 39, Idaho Code, titled the "No Public Funds for Abortion Act." The bill's purpose is "to ensure that public funds are not used to directly or indirectly subsidize abortion or abortion providers." The bill contains relevant definitions and specifics, including a prohibition against using "any tuition or fees paid to a public institution of higher education" to "pay for an abortion, provide or perform an abortion, provide counseling in favor of abortion, make a referral for abortion, or provide facilities for an abortion or for training to provide or perform abortion."


Does it violate the principles of federalism by increasing federal authority, yielding to federal blandishments, or incorporating changeable federal laws into Idaho statutes or rules? Examples include citing federal code without noting as it is written on a certain date, using state resources to enforce federal law, and refusing to support and uphold the Tenth Amendment. Conversely, does it restore or uphold the principles of federalism?

Unfortunately, House Bill 17 contains as many exceptions as it does prohibitions, which significantly detract from both its message and its impact. 

Some examples of these exceptions include the following:

"A contract or commercial transaction that is subject to a federal law that is in conflict with" the bill's prohibitions against government contracts with abortion providers or government contracts for abortion procedures.

"Any provision" of the prohibitions against using public funds for abortion or using public facilities and assets for abortion "found to be in conflict with federal law."

Idaho's laws should not be conditioned on federal approval or contain exceptions, thereby allowing the federal government to override or supersede state statutes. 


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