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  • Writer's pictureAction Idaho

Wasden Wrecking the Heartbeat Bill

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden's office has been working to derail Idaho's Heartbeat bill for months.

The Attorney General's Office has now entered into an agreement with Planned Parenthood to let Idaho's Supreme Court stay or temporarily block the Heartbeat law in exchange for a delay in the court proceedings.

Why is Lawrence Wasden, who is legally obligated to defend the law, entering into an agreement with Planned Parenthood, who wants to see the law killed?

According to Court documents obtained by Action Idaho, the Attorney General's Office claims that it was caught unprepared by the need to defend the law in Idaho courts. The Attorney General's Office claimed that the process was simply moving too quickly for its team of over 100 attorneys to present a vigorous defense of the law. The Attorney General's office, according to documents, had "a mere 15 days… to marshal all their arguments and evidence" to support the bill. Planned Parenthood and the Attorney General therefore agreed to "preserve the status quo while the parties carefully brief and argue" the legal issues. Thus the law does not go into effect.

Wasden could have defended the law before it was scheduled to go into effect, but his lack of preparation caused the delay and the stay.

With this agreement comes a new schedule. The new schedule delays all legal decisions until after the May Republican primary, where conservative challenger Raúl Labrador is pressing Lawrence Wasden for his unwillingness to defend conservative legislation. Briefs from the state and its supporters are now due April 28. Planned Parenthood and its allies then have two weeks to respond. The hearing will probably be planned then three weeks later, with a decision coming in the next month. Wasden will not have to face conservative voters until after the legal proceedings are over.

This begs an important question. Why was the Attorney General unprepared to defend the Heartbeat Law? He had months to ready legal defenses of the law. He had ample attorneys to put on the job. Instead of getting ready to defend a law, Lawrence Wasden spent his time and resources trying to derail the law in the legislature. Wasden's lack of preparation to defend the Heartbeat Law reflects a lack of interest in defending Heartbeat Law. And it shows that Wasden is trying to hide his lack of interest behind a legal smokescreen.

The stay sent pro-abortion forces into frenzies of delight. "We are thrilled that abortion will remain accessible in the state," wrote Rebecca Gibron, interim CEO of Planned Parenthood in the northwest.

Lawrence Wasden is a big part of the reason abortion advocates have smiles on their faces.


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