Idaho Democrats finalize support for abortion, public education

Idaho Democrats
Idaho Democratic Party members participate in finalizing the party platform at the 2024 state convention held at the University of Idaho in Moscow on June 23, 2024. (Mia Maldonado/Idaho Capital Sun)

By Mia Maldonado, Idaho Capital Sun

The Idaho Democratic Party adopted changes to its platform at its biennial convention on Sunday, adding significant changes to the party’s stance on education, health care and natural resources.

The updated platform will guide the party for the next two years. This year’s changes highlight the Idaho Democratic Party’s response to laws passed in recent years in Idaho’s supermajority Republican Legislature that restrict abortion and library material access. The updated platform also represents the party’s opposition to using public funding for private school vouchers.

On the last day of the convention held at the University of Idaho, party members spent the first 30 minutes finalizing the platform by debating inclusive terminology, including how to refer to LGBTQ+ people and minorities. After closing debate on inclusive terminology and grammar suggestions, the party moved to vote in favor of its new platform. 

There are seven parts to the Idaho Democratic Party’s platform — beginning with its preamble. The biggest change to the party’s preamble is newly added support for the Second Amendment and gun safety.

In the education section of the platform, the party voted to “stand against siphoning off public tax dollars for nonpublic school voucher schemes,” and to “protect access to books and educational materials in libraries and in the classroom.” The platform also added a sentence to support early childhood and special education.

In the economy section of the platform, Idaho Democrats added sections in support of renewable energy and child care investments, and members voted on protecting Medicare and Social Security benefits, the right to unionize, and promoting local agriculture.

The “Equity, Justice and Opportunity for All” section remains largely the same, which states that the party will promote equal rights, particularly for minorities.

The party made significant changes to its health care section, calling for more reproductive freedom — such as legal access to abortion, contraceptives and in vitro fertilization. The updated platform includes support for “the right of individuals to make their own medical decisions, including gender-affirming care.” The updated platform also addresses concerns that health care providers are leaving Idaho, and it states that the party will support policies for health care providers who “fear criminalization for providing evidence-based care.”

Additions to the democracy section of the platform include fighting against white supremacy and promoting government transparency. During a platform committee meeting Saturday afternoon, party members agreed to include support for freedom of the press in response to journalists being barred from two days of activity at the Idaho Republican Party’s state convention last week in Coeur d’Alene. Journalists were allowed to attend all proceedings at the Idaho Democratic Party’s convention.

Lastly, the party added changes to its stance on natural resources, affirming scientific evidence of climate change and supporting renewable energy investments. The party also called to protect Idaho’s water resources and public lands use for agriculture and recreation.

The 2024 party platform will be uploaded to the Idaho Democratic Party’s website at a later time.

The party also passed nine resolutions addressing local and national issues, including resolutions that:

  • Support funding public education and condemn private school vouchers
  • Condemn House Bill 710, which codifies procedures for Idaho libraries to follow when patrons believe a library material is harmful to minors
  • Support immigration reform to provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and enhance border security.
  • Support the LGBTQ+ community
  • Support funding domestic violence programs in Idaho
  • Support reproductive health care
  • Support improvements in health care for veterans, including support for medical marijuana
  • Support Idaho’s democratic process, including support for a state-funded voter guide, open primaries, government transparency, the 17th Amendment and civil discourse
  • Support mitigating climate change and promote sustainability policies

Resolutions are adopted by the Idaho Democratic Party directing the party to take action or to express its formal stance on a specific topic.

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