The resolution was adopted on Friday after a substantive debate, both for and against the proposal
BOISE, Idaho- This article originally appeared in Idaho Press.
A “Day of Tears” abortion resolution was passed Friday by the Idaho Senate, but only after substantial debate both for and against, centering not only on abortion but also on the Constitution, the religion and the rules for lowering the American flag at half mast.
The resolution, SR 101, sponsored by Sen. Mary Souza, R-Coeur d’Alene with 12 Senate GOP cosponsors, recognizes “in perpetuity” January 22, the anniversary of the Court’s Roe v. Wade decision the Supreme Court of the United States, as the “Day of Tears in Idaho” and encourages the people of Idaho to lower the flags at half mast on this date “to mourn the innocent people who lost their lives because of abortion “.
A similar resolution was pending in the House, but was not addressed on Friday.
Souza told the Senate, “Since that day, nearly 62 million babies have been aborted. That’s more lives than the entire population of Canada. That’s more lives than the population of California, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Nevada combined. Lowering the flag, she said, is encouraged “so families can find healing.”
Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, read federal law and state law on when the U.S. flag can be flown at half-mast; it can only happen by order of the President of the United States or the Governor of a State, and it can only happen for specified limited periods of time.
“It’s not meant to be used for anything we want to make a political statement about. It is unconstitutional,” she told the Senate. “It is not the privilege of a mayor or a legislature. It is the privilege of a President of the United States and a State Governor only.
She also quoted the American Legion’s website on the display of the American flag, which states, “Those individuals and agencies who usurp authority and display the flag at half mast on inappropriate occasions are rapidly eroding honor and reverence. accorded to this solemn act.”
Sen. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, quoted the Bible and noted that various religions have different views on the beginning of life and that the United States is founded on freedom of religion, as recognized in the first amendment. “We made a solemn covenant with each other in the Constitution, and that covenant was that we would not attempt to use the power of government in relation to the question of religion,” he said. . “And so we have the First Amendment, and the First Amendment says the government shall not establish religion.”
“And in this resolution, we take the flag, and we attempt to harness the flag that is meant to unite us and not divide us, the symbol of our unity, and we harness it to a political cause and to a religious cause” , said Burgoyne, lawyer. “And not only can we constitutionally not do that, but I think that’s an extremely reckless use of the flag.”
Senator Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, also a lawyer, replied: “We regularly exploit political questions and opinions on the flag, it happens every day that we sit. It happens every day that a legislative body in the United States is in session. This happens every time Congress meets. This is normal behavior. He also cited the Bible, criticized the Roe v. Wade decision, and said he would support the resolution.
Souza, in his closing debate, said, “Let me reiterate that this resolution encourages citizens to lower their flags at half mast on January 22 in remembrance each year. It is not mandatory. It is not dictated by any government agency as a mandate. The Senate then approved the resolution on a split vote.
The Idaho House had Rep. Barbara Ehardt’s “Day of Tears” resolution on its calendar Friday, but when it appeared, there were only 44 reps present in the chamber, and 10 reps were missing because the Joint Committee on Finance and Appropriations met at the same time the House met, 8 o’clock in the morning. This is common on Fridays at the start of the legislative session, when the House holds only a brief early morning session and then adjourns to allow out-of-town representatives to catch early flights home to the weekend.
This prompted discussions between Ehardt and legislative leaders and verification of the rules. House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, said no vote can be taken when the House is missing a committee.
So Ehardt was instead content to claim personal privilege during the time of Friday’s announcements, in which she denounced the Roe v. Wade decision and expressed hope that it will soon be overturned.
“A great evil has been perpetrated in this country,” Ehardt told the House, “and that evil is that 62 million babies have been lost, have been aborted.” Many states are bringing resolutions similar to hers, she said.
Since it was time for announcements, when any lawmaker can make an announcement, Rep. Lauren Necochea, D-Boise, rose next. “Tomorrow is the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, when women’s constitutional right to choose was enshrined in our Constitution,” Necochea told the House. “It made abortion care safer for people and something to celebrate.”
Thereupon the House adjourned until Monday.
This article originally appeared in Idaho Press. Read more on IdahoPress.com
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