On May 6th, 2022 Idaho Representatives Brent Crane and Lauren Necochea sat down with Melissa Davlin to talk about what Idaho would look like if/when Roe V. Wade was overturned on the “Idaho Reports” public program. This interview can be found here.
Quite frankly, this interview is rather shocking, and needs to become a bit well more known. Because of this, I have transcribed the full interview.
I read through the entire transcript and made a quick summary of the talking points from both of the representatives’ points of view.
Republican Representative Brent Crane
We do not have a history of funding programs which support access to healthcare and/or material support for struggling, because we expect the private sector to do this. While we have not been supporting these programs, we have worked towards passing laws which automatically take effect if/when Roe V. Wade is overturned which would enable doctors to be charged with murder. I am ecstatic that Roe V. Wade may very well be overturned. If families end up struggling after this court decision is reversed, then we will suddenly change our tune and support social safety nets, if it turns out that the private sector wont. We wont pass laws restricting travel or charging women with murder for having an abortion, but I would like to illegalize Plan B and may want to illegalize IUDs.
Democratic Representative Lauren Necochea
We have a history of trying to pass bills which give easier access to family planning which prevents unwanted pregnancies, but these bills have been consistently shot down by the Republican majority. Additionally, we have tried to expand social safety nets which support struggling families, but have also been largely unsuccessful because of the Republican majority. Roe V. Wade being overturned means that even more families will be thrust into desperate situations, and the Idahoan government has a proven history of not providing support. I worry about even more extreme laws being passed in the future, because that is the trend in Idaho politics. The fact that we are even talking about illegalizing IUDs is harrowing.
What Does A “Post-Roe” Idaho Look Like? | Rep. Brent Crane and Rep. Lauren Necochea | Idaho Reports
Davlin: Thank you both so much for joining us today. I wanted to start with your reactions to the leaked draft opinion that came out earlier this week, and i’ll start with you representative Crane.
Crane: I’m frustrated – disappointed. You know, the Supreme Court has always been able to keep those type of issues quiet before they make the decision, and I think the reason behind that is that they want to ensure if it’s a controversial decision, like this one is going to be, that you don’t have riots; that you don’t have unrest prior to a decision; that the decision is made and then the public can react to it. So allowing this to go on for a length of time is becoming more problematic, and I actually think you’ll see the court expedite their timeline and make a decision in order – that they’re certainty provided not only to the citizens, but also to the states that are going to have to react to this should it be overturned.
Davlin: There’s the reaction to the leak itself, and then there is the potential that this is going to be the opinion that it is going to overturn Roe V. Wade. What’s your reaction to the potential overturn?
Crane: Well it’s it’s no secret that I am pro-life. I’m anti-abortion and so obviously this is an area of law that I’ve worked in and spent a lot of time working in. I think if you’ll look at my record over the last 16 years you’ll see that I’ve passed or worked on 17 pieces of legislation with regards to this issue. So, for a pro-life lawmaker, it’s something that I’m very excited about, and we would consider it a win, and something that we have tried to convince the court for quite some time. So I’m very excited.
Davlin: I wanted to ask you the same thing representative Necochea.
Necochea: So I had a much different reaction; I was devastated to hear this news. This is a right that we’ve had in place for all of our lifetimes here sitting around this table, and for the for these past five decades Roe V. Wade has protected Idahoans regardless of what extreme unconstitutional laws were proposed or enacted in Idaho, and those protections now go away. I think we face a grim reality.
Davlin: As representative Crane said, this is the result of decades of work from the Republican Party trying to get this overturned. You say you’re devastated, were you surprised though?
Necochea: Even though we knew this was coming, it still felt like a shock, because this is a right that we’ve all enjoyed for so long, and it’s hard to imagine our lives without it, and because the measures that Idaho has been talking about and passing have become ever more extreme. 10 years ago a proposal that would have mandated transvaginal ultrasounds was deemed too extreme, and then we just passed a bill that had that provision, as well as these you know cash bounties for rapists relatives, if the victim pursues an abortion, and these things that are I think just really in conflict with the values that Idahoans hold now.
Davlin: I wanted to ask you about the shifting views of the House Republican Caucus from where you’re sitting. I covered that 2012 bill that would have required the transvaginal ultrasounds, and at the time the House Republican Caucus thought that that was a step too far. We’re in a very different spot now; we have a very different House Republican Caucus. [To Crane] Do you think that your colleagues are getting to a place where they want to punish women seeking abortions as opposed to just the physicians, which is what’s in Idaho’s trigger law now?
Crane: There’s no doubt that the House Republican Caucus is a very pro-life caucus, but no, I don’t believe that the caucus has shifted – that they want to punish a woman. The legislation that has been passed, I believe in 2021, dealt with punishing the doctor for performing the abortion, and that’s where the caucus would be at today. Now, bear in mind, Melissa, we’re going to probably see 30 new individuals come into the House of Representatives next year. I don’t know where those 30 individuals are going to be on this particular issue, and it will be interesting to see that the impact that this decision will have on those individuals and where they will be. I can tell you past caucuses up through this year where we would be, coming forward I don’t know, but my what I anticipate is that the House Republican Caucus would not be in favor of punishing the woman if she chose to get an abortion – we would punish the doctor because he’s performing the abortion.
Davlin: There are certainly other potential proposals that you might see if you’re still House State Affairs chairman or wherever you are in the legislature. Do you think we’re going to see efforts to stop women from traveling to other states to seek abortions?
Crane: I don’t think that you – well a legislator can bring any idea, right? So do I think that a legislator might bring that in? They certainly could. Do I think that that idea would get a hearing or get passed? No I do not.
Davlin: Would you hear that as state affairs chairman?
Crane: No I would not, because an individual still has the right to travel, and if they’re legal in the state of Oregon and a woman in Idaho chooses to travel to Oregon, that’s a decision that she is making to travel to Oregon. When the government’s stepping in and and restricting people’s ability to travel, that’s a scary place to be.
Davlin: How about abortion pills via mail, IUDs, or Plan B? Would you hear legislation to ban those?
Crane: I would, absolutely. There is some concerns, health concerns actually, with the with the medication. They mail the medication to the woman, she takes them, and they can sometimes have a reaction to that. So from a health concerns perspective, yes I think that we need to take a look at that legislation or look at legislation that would deal with those particular prescribing of those abortifications.
Davlin: How about IUDs and Plan B, though?
Crane: Plan P I probably would hear that legislation. IUDs I’m not for certain yet on where I would be on that particular issue.
Davlin: Representative Necochea, what specifically are you concerned about for the coming legislative session?
Necochea: So many things, because we see the trajectory is just towards more and more extreme and invasive proposals. We had two republican legislators sponsor a bill that would put a woman on trial for murder if she had an abortion. This isn’t something they whispered to each other that they believed; they put their names on a bill and put it out there. I’m disturbed about that trend. I’m disturbed that we would even talk about whether an IUD should be legal or not in Idaho; that’s an effective, well-used form of family planning, and these things have to remain accessible. It was it was a hard day when we had debated that bill on the house floor – the most extreme bill I’ve seen around abortion – and not one hour before the House killed a bill that would have allowed women to fulfill their to fill their family planning prescriptions six months at a time. This would help [give] rural women [or] anyone who has a hard time getting to the pharmacy to fill that prescription better more stable access to her family planning, which then prevents unintended pregnancies. What I’m seeing is a legislature that won’t do anything to help people with family planning, to help prevent unintended pregnancy, ubut is but is starting to talk about harsh – just appalling punishments with the idea of trying a woman for murder, and that’s that’s very disturbing. I’m very fearful of what could happen in in the coming years without the federal protections of Roe Versus Wade.
Davlin: To be clear, the legislation in passed bills in in multiple sessions that would have punished the woman for seeking an abortion, those have never gotten a hearing but they have been proposed in both the House and the Senate.
Crane: Yeah, I mean a lawmaker can propose anything that they want. I think you’re probably referring to Representative [Heather] Scott and Representative [Ron] Nate. Representative Scott talked with me about that particular piece of legislation, and I told her, “In my committee, I’m not going to hear that bill that puts a woman on trial for murder. If you’ll take that portion of the bill out – if you put the doctor on trial for murder, which trues up exactly what we already have in Idaho statutes, then we can talk about having a hearing on your bill.” So I understand where [Representative] Lauren [Necochea] is at and the concerns that she has, however there are still reasonable people in the legislature that are going to ensure that extreme bills like that are not going to get a hearing.
Davlin: I have a question about the Democrats’ plan to fight this legislatively. Voters, for decades now, have overwhelmingly sent anti-abortion lawmakers to the State House [and] elected them to executive positions. How do you plan to fight this legislatively when this is seemingly what Idaho voters want?
Necochea: I think we’re going to see a change, and I think we’re going to see this impact political outcomes just as we did in 1990 when the Republican legislature passed a harsh abortion ban. Governor Cecil Andrus vetoed it, and then a wave of Democrats were voted into office. It’s one thing to send a an anti-abortion lawmaker who’s going to pass these bills to the legislature when it doesn’t matter, [because] Roe V. Wade is going to protect us from those bills being implemented. It’s another thing when we have the grim reality of a miscarriage then now under suspicion and potentially you know finding herself under investigation by the police. That’s what happens in countries where abortion is banned. That’s the grim reality that we haven’t had to live we haven’t had to live with the implementation of these laws, because of Roe V. Wade. I’m heartened to hear the Representative [Crane] say that he doesn’t want to pursue legislation that would prevent travel across state lines, but that’s also what’s so absurd about this bill, because people who have the means to travel to get this legal procedure across the border, they’ll be able to do that; they won’t be impacted. It’ll be low-income people, people of color who might not have the same social networks who can drive them across the state lines [or] who can lend them the money that they need. It’s an unjust law when it only applies to some people, and not to wealthy people who have the means to find other ways to get this care.
Davlin: I wanted to ask you about whether there have been any discussions about what’s next for these women and families who are now going to be facing the prospect of carrying an unplanned pregnancy to term? Have there been any discussions in either the government setting, or in the private sector, about boosting social services for women and families to make sure that they are supported throughout the pregnancy?
Crane: I can tell you, as far as a caucus, have we had that discussion? No, we have not had it as an entire caucus. Have individual lawmakers started having that conversation? Absolutely we have, and there are great resources out there. Stanton Healthcare is one that provides life-affirming care here in the Treasure Valley, [and] in (Nampa), this lifeline crisis pregnancy center. These are private organizations that help come alongside women. I got an email from one of them this week that said, “In 20 years of running this organization, lifeline, I’ve never had one mother come back and regret her decision to keep her child.” I think you’re going to see – there is going to be additional burdens placed upon those organizations, and so also the state’s going to have a role in coming alongside and helping those individual organizations out, or also looking at state organizations that can help assist these women.
Davlin: All the organizations you mentioned are in the Treasure Valley, and there are lots of resources here in and around Boise and Nampa. What about mothers in Pierce or Orofino, or bear lake who don’t have easy access to a metropolitan center?
Crane: So I mentioned just the ones that I know of in the Treasure Valley; there’s ones all across the state of Idaho. Everyone in Moscow, Idaho, Reliance Care Center, there’s a number of them across the state. I don’t know each one of them individually personally, and I think that also I do know some of them, but I also think you’re going to see more of those individual organizations spring up across the state to help these women out.
Davlin: In your in your philosophical world view, what’s the state role in this?
Crane: If the state law is going to say, “Hey, you’re going to carry that child to full term”, and there is going to be a burden a financial burden on that mother, then the state can look at individual organizations that we already have in place or agencies that we have in place, and come alongside and provide some care for those, whether that’s with formula, diapers, health care, housing, – those type of things. You’re going to have to provide some of that.
Davlin: These are proposals that I know that the Democrats have been talking about before a potential Roe V. Wade overturned, with increased social services funding and more of an attention on housing. Are we going to see proposals from the Democratic Caucus along those lines next year?
Necochea: We’ll certainly be taking a look at it, but these are things we’ve always supported as Democrats. We’ve always supported investing in affordable child care, investing in health insurance so that people can get access [to] family planning that allows them to plan a healthy pregnancy, and then have health insurance postpartum so that they can stay healthy and get treatment if they have postpartum depression, or any of those things that impact the the health of the family. We have always supported those supports for health for healthy families, in spite of the fact that the Republican super majority has voted against many of these things. Medicaid expansion would have been a great thing for healthy pregnancies, but we had to do that through the ballot initiative process because the Republican super majority blocked it. We barely can pass investments in child care; it takes the Democrats in the house to get those budgets across the line. The legislature does not have a good track record in supporting these things that help families succeed, and it’s high time that that changes.
Davlin: [To Crane] I wanted to get your response to that. Does the overturn of Roe V. Wade change the conversation around those services?
Crane: It will change the conversation, absolutely. Now, from a Republican perspective, we would prefer that that’s done in the private sector with some of those organizations that I’ve mentioned. So always Republicans are looking towards “is there a private solution rather than a government solution?” So we will look to see what we can do to come along those private organizations. Might the government have to play a role in this? Yeah, they might have to, and if so I think you’ll see legislative Republican legislators stand tall and do the right thing.
Davlin: Alright representative Brent Crane, representative Lauren Necochea, thank you both so much for joining us today.
Crane: Thank you.
Necochea: Thank you.