Idaho Republican Bob Nonini, a candidate for lieutenant governor, made a jarring proposal this week: He suggested that women who undergo abortions should be punished with the death penalty, an extreme idea that is part of his vision of an Idaho where abortion is illegal. In a statement, the three-term state senator said that criminalizing the procedure would allow prosecutors to target doctors who perform abortions, and for the government to intimidate women into going through with unwanted pregnancies.
“Prosecutions have always been focused on the abortionist,” Nonini clarified. “There is no way a woman would go to jail let alone face the death penalty. The statute alone, the threat of prosecution, would dramatically reduce abortion. That is my goal.”
During a candidate forum in Moscow, Idaho, on Monday, Nonini said that he was praying for the repeal of Roe v. Wade, and that “anyone who has an abortion should pay.” When asked if he believed the death penalty was a fair punishment, he didn’t hesitate in signaling agreement.
Nonini is hardly the first so-called “pro-life” politician in the heavily conservative state to suggest that mothers deserve to forfeit their lives if they terminate an unwanted pregnancy. Last year, anti-choice advocates Abolish Abortion Idaho launched a ballot initiative that would allow prosecutors to charge abortion providers and women with first-degree murder — a measure that Republican State Senator Dan Foreman also attempted to put into law last year. For those curious as to what such a law could mean for women in reality, one has only to look at El Salvador, where women accused of having abortions are not only imprisoned, but can face up to 30 years in jail for murder.
Read the full story at The Idaho Statesman.