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Idaho Governor Brad Little Responds to Washington Governor's Request for Veto of Abortion Trafficking Law

'The national media's and your efforts to exaggerate and misrepresent the bill only further complicate the process,' wrote Little

The governor of Idaho has responded to a request from Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who asked him to veto a law that criminalized adults taking minors out of Idaho for abortions and concealing the minors’ pregnancies from their parents.

Governor Brad Little signed House Bill 242 into law on April 5, making Idaho the first state to regulate interstate travel for the purpose of abortion – labeling the crime “abortion trafficking.” Abortions are only permitted in Idaho in the case of a medical emergency.

Inslee said the law would have an impact on the citizens of his state.

I fear that our residents, in particular the women and girls of Washington, will be in grave danger if they travel to your state and find themselves in need of urgent reproductive health care services,” wrote Inslee according to the letter which was sent on April 4. 

“This bill would also attempt to punish some Washington residents who happen to be in your state for any length of time, a gross abuse of their right to travel between our states,” said the governor. “As a result, all Washingtonians have a stake in this matter.” 

Inslee also said his state would welcome and protect Idaho residents who cross state lines to obtain an abortion.

“Make no mistake, Governor Little, the laws of another state that seek to punish anyone in Washington for lawful actions taken in Washington will not stand,” wrote Inslee. 

Just over two weeks since he signed HB242 into law, Little has responded to Inslee’s letter. Little reiterated that the law’s purpose was to prevent minors from traveling across state lines to undergo an abortion without the knowledge and consent of their parents. 

“Why do you not support that?” Little wrote in his response to Inslee, per KREM. “The national media’s and your efforts to exaggerate and misrepresent the bill only further complicate the process. It is a disservice to our citizens.”

He acknowledged Inslee’s claim that Idaho residents were departing for Idaho, but noted that Washington residents are also relocating to his state.

“It is hard to imagine why someone would leave Idaho for Washington when your state is home to sky high taxes, crime, and public encampments,” he wrote. “Meanwhile, Idaho has turned back more tax relief per capita than any other state, we’re one of the safest states in [the] nation, and we don’t back down to activists – we kick illegal public encampments off public property.”

His remarks underscored mounting tension between the neighboring states. 

Inslee, a Democrat, has served as governor since 2013. The attorney served as a US Congressman for Washington between 1999 and 2012 and was appointed by President Bill Clinton to be a regional director for the US Department of Health and Human Services. He has not formally announced his intention to seek a fourth term in 2024 when he is next up for reelection. 

A Democratic presidential candidate has won Washington during every election since 1988.

Little is Idaho’s 33rd governor. The Republican took office in 2019 after serving as the state’s lieutenant governor for 10 years. The cattle ranch owner was reelected in 2022 and his current term’s end in 2027. 

Except for 1964, a Republican presidential candidate has won Idaho during every election since 1952.

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