Anti-abortion resolution to lower flags passes Idaho House

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The full Idaho House on Wednesday adopted an anti-abortion resolution encouraging people to fly flags at half-staff one day a year in recognition of abortions performed since the medical procedure became legal nearly 50 years ago. But critics of the resolution said it disrespected the American flag by turning it into a billboard for a divisive issue.

The resolution from Rep. Barbara Ehardt, a Republican from Idaho Falls, designates Jan. 22 as the “Day of Tears,” suggesting that Idaho residents should mourn aborted embryos and fetuses. It was adopted on a 48-20 vote.

“We are creating a day of remembrance,” Ehardt told her fellow lawmakers. “This isn’t a cheap ploy; this is about putting us in a position to remember, and in our own way, doing something about it.”

But Rep. Brooke Green, a Democrat from Boise, said flags are rightly flown at half-staff to commemorate those who died serving their country, and that tradition should be respected, not usurped. She said the resolution would set a bad precedent.

“The flag isn’t for you to hijack,” she said. “That’s shameful, disrespectful to this flag and the people who serve it. ... This isn’t the path we deserve to go down.”

Rep. Gary Marshall, a Republican from Idaho Falls, said some lawmakers may feel compelled to vote yes for the measure lest the public mistake their stance on abortion. He said he strongly opposes abortion, but warned that the resolution wouldn’t have any validity. State law gives the governor, not the Legislature, the authority to direct when flags to be flown at half-staff.

The Senate passed a “Day of Tears” resolution after similar debate last week.

The “Day of Tears” concept comes from a Virginia-based anti-abortion organization of the same name, which seeks to get similar legislation passed in every state.

Rebecca Boone
Rebecca Boone
Rebecca is a correspondent based in Idaho.