Idaho Senator ‘Bullies’ Students Lobbying For Birth Control Bill

The senator went ballistic against students, ranting about abortion, and yet, all they had traveled seven hours for was to discuss birth control legislation.

Idaho Republican Sen. Dan Foreman is being called a bully online for giving college students who traveled miles to discuss a birth control bill a hard time.

The Monday exchange, which was captured on camera, depicts an out-of-control Foreman and a dozen students from the University of Idaho in Boise. In the video, the senator is seen pointing at students, saying that "abortion is murder."

The group of students had scheduled a meeting with Foreman at 9 a.m., but the senator simply didn’t show up, canceling at the last minute.

Before moving on to meeting with other lawmakers, the group left a note and condoms at the Republican’s office. In the note, the students said that they had driven seven hours for a scheduled meeting, and that they were disappointed that the senator was “not doing [his] job.”

Later, students saw Foreman in the hallway, prompting the exchange caught on camera.

“I’m a Roman Catholic and a conservative Republican. I think what you guys are doing stinks,” the senator said.

He then threatened the students, saying that he would get law enforcement involved if they tried visiting his office again.

Students were clearly unhappy.

After the incident, Paul Dillon, the public affairs director of Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, said that the senator’s reaction was uncalled for.

“Even if you disagree with what we have to say,” Dillon explained, “there’s no excuse for that kind behavior. He was being a bully.”

What was particularly upsetting is that, according to the students, they weren’t even there to discuss abortion. Instead, they were just there to lobby lawmakers to support bills that would give women the ability to receive up to 12-month supplies of prescribed birth control and another that would update the state’s sex education law.

In a tweet published by an account that is apparently associated with Foreman, the senator said that “saving the lives of my constituents” was his “priority.” The Twitter account also suggested that students head out to Democratic Sen. Maryanne Jordan’s office to talk about “killing babies.”

Jordan is from Boise.

Later, The Washington Post reported, the Twitter account in question issued a statement saying that the senator did not run the account.  

After the inflammatory tweet, Jordan filed an ethics complaint against Foreman. The account was then deactivated, only to be activated again to issue the statement apologizing for the initial tweet before being deactivated once more.

Regardless of how you feel about abortion or birth control legislation, holding a balanced and polite debate about ideas is the only way either side can achieve anything. The moment one of the parties becomes agitated and out of control, the debate turns into a sideshow, and ideas worth discussing are never even brought to light.

It’s unfortunate that this exchange turned into a public fight, and the senator should be ashamed for it.

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters/Mike Blake

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