Delegates at the 2022 Idaho GOP Convention in Twin Falls wait as votes are cast for new executive committee members. (Kelcie Moseley-Morris/Idaho Capital Sun)
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the platform and resolutions as adopted by the convention delegates are now officially in effect. Only rules adopted by the delegates will need approval from the state central committee in January.
By a nearly four-to-one margin, Idaho Republicans at the state party’s convention in Twin Falls rejected an amendment to the party platform on Saturday that would have provided an exception for a mother who has an abortion to save her life.
Scott Herndon, a candidate for the Idaho Senate who won the Republican primary over Sen. Jim Woodward, R-Sagle, in May and has no opponent in the general election, proposed adding language to the party platform about abortion. While language already existed in the platform classifying abortion as murder from the moment of fertilization, Herndon’s language added that the party supports the criminalization of all abortions within the state’s jurisdiction and said Idaho’s Constitution should be amended to include a “declaration of the right to life for preborn children.”
Herndon argued the exception should not be included because over the past nearly 50 years since the U.S. Supreme Court made the original Roe v. Wade ruling, exceptions made in the law eroded progress for the anti-abortion movement.
“For the last 49 years we have essentially lost the argument in the culture because we have focused on abortion as the termination of a pregnancy and not the termination of a living human being,” Herdon told delegates.
He also said the oath a doctor takes to do no harm covers such situations, and if a doctor is treating a pregnant person and the unborn child, it is in line with standards of medical care to determine who can legitimately be saved. To add exceptions would be to give priority to one patient over the other, he said.
“We will never win this human rights issue, the greatest of our time, if we make allowances for the intentional killing of another human being,” Herndon said.
Herndon also told the Capital Sun he is working on legislation that will include more precise language, but the party platform didn’t need to be as precise with its wording since it is a position statement, not law.
The delegation did approve an amendment to Herndon’s language to exclude miscarriages from criminal penalties.
Herndon’s proposal also included updates to the abortion section of the platform that addressed the U.S. Supreme Court, adding, “Idaho has the sovereign authority to defy the federal judiciary should they once again propose the fiction that abortion is a federal constitutional right.”
The platform also includes a new section saying the party believes parents, not the state, have a sacred duty and right to rear their children in the manner they see fit. It also said the party believes a child’s gender assigned at birth to be an essential characteristic of identity and purpose.
“We call upon parents, responsible citizens, and officers of government to promote measures that respect and protect the biological gender of children,” the language says. “We strongly oppose any person, entity or policy that attempts to confuse minors regarding their biological gender.”
Other platform additions include support for repeal of 16th Amendment
The approved platform also includes language stating the party’s primary should be open to all people who affiliated as Republicans at least one year before the primary election and support a “vast majority” of the party platform. There is also a new section of the platform stating the party supports the repeal of the 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gives Congress the power to levy and collect income taxes.
At the same time, the platform also includes a section on judicial interpretation, stating that the party opposes any interpretation of the U.S. Constitution and Idaho Constitution that is not rooted in textualism and originalism. The platform “emphatically affirms” that judges have a duty to interpret statutory terms to mean what they conveyed to reasonable people at the time they were written.
The platform and approved resolutions are considered official now that the convention has adjourned. The state central committee will still need to approve rules that were adopted by the delegates.
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Approved resolutions did not include rejection of 2020 presidential election
Delegates approved several resolutions, including one from Darr Moon stating support for legislation that would require all elections in the state of Idaho to be partisan, with the exception of judicial elections.
A resolution directing the Idaho Republican Party to dismiss a lawsuit against the Bonneville County Central Republican Committee was also approved after it failed in committee on a tie vote. By party rules, a resolution that ends in a tie vote in committee can be voted on again by the full delegation.
A resolution that would have stated the Idaho Republican Party rejected the certified election of President Joe Biden did not pass out of committee
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