TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The recent leak of a draft opinion showing the U.S. Supreme Court on the verge of overturning Roe v. Wade has reignited an old debate: abortion.
In Twin Falls, Eastside Baptist Church pastor Paul Thompson has led multiple efforts to make the city a sanctuary city for all preborn children, none of which were successful; but, now his hope has been rekindled.
“I would be grateful if babies in the city of Twin Falls would no longer have to face an out of town doctor and out of state doctor who comes here and rips them limb by limb out of the womb of their mother,” he said. “I would be grateful for that day.”
State Health and Welfare data shows more than 1,600 abortions occurred in Idaho in 2020, the most in the past decade.
Should Roe be overturned, an existing Idaho trigger law means most abortions would be banned. Thompson said he would like to see exceptions like rape and incest removed in Idaho.
“If life begins at conception, then regardless of how that life began, it’s worth preserving, and the state of Idaho should have a vested interest in preserving all life in our state,” said Thompson.
While religion is often used as the backbone behind pro-life arguments, Savina Barini says it’s important to remember people of a wide variety of backgrounds, beliefs and religions live in Twin Falls. Barini, who is Jewish, said traditional Jewish law allows for, and in some cases, requires an abortion.
“I would say, does the 1st amendment not protect my right as a Jewish person to have access to abortion? Because there are cases under Jewish law, I would have to have access to it,” Barini said.
Barini, who is the product of an interracial marriage, added she is concerned that it may be only the start of a domino effect.
“Justice Alito says that we have to have rights enshrined deeply in the historical record and interracial marriage is not one of those, same-sex marriage is not one of those, the right to contraception is not one of those. So if that is the standard, I worry about those coming down one after another after Roe,” she said.
At this stage, abortion remains legal.
While the country waits for a final opinion, both Thompson and Barini agree this is a time for community members to find compassion and respect each other’s opinions.
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