A state senator shouted Monday at University of Idaho students affiliated with Planned Parenthood, trying to schedule a meeting with him to discuss birth control and sex education.
Sen. Dan Foreman, R-Moscow, said he would call law enforcement officials if they attempted to visit his office at the Capitol again.
Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, said Tuesday he had talked to Foreman about the incident. "(H)e has assured me that his behavior will not be repeated," Hill told the Statesman.
The students, who had traveled nearly 300 miles from the Moscow campus to participate in a Boise lobbying event, were trying to schedule a meeting with Foreman.
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The Republican canceled at the last minute. The students left him a note and condoms in his office before moving on to other scheduled meetings.
The students and Foreman passed in a hallway. He emphatically refused to speak with them in an exchange that several people recorded on camera.
“Abortion is murder. I stand against it,” Foreman says in the short clips, posted on Facebook. “I am a Roman Catholic. I am a conservative Republican. I think what you guys do stinks.”
After a further exchange, Foreman then walks through an office door. “The next time you walk in my office, you’re going to be dealing with ISP,” he says.
Foreman did not initially return requests for comment. Tuesday, he told the Associated Press he has no plans to apologize to the students.
Said Hill: "Not only do I not condone the senator’s conduct while interacting with the group of citizens in the Capitol building, I am troubled by it. For our system of government to function properly, we must respect the viewpoints of others, even when they conflict with our personal perspectives. As public servants, we need to serve the public with dignity, civility and respect for one another."
Paul Dillon, public affairs director for Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho, said in a phone interview that Foreman’s response to their meeting request was scary and students were not at the Capitol to talk about abortion.
Instead, the students were encouraging lawmakers to vote in favor of a bill that would allow women to receive up to a 12-month supply of prescribed birth control and promote better sex education on college campuses.
“He was completely unhinged,” Dillon said. “Even if you disagree with what we have to say, there’s no excuse for that kind behavior. He was being a bully.”
Dillon said his group purposefully scheduled meetings with lawmakers from North Idaho regions because the students were coming from Moscow.
Dillon added that the other meetings were peaceful even if the lawmakers disagreed with their talking points.
For example, Dillon said Sen. Bob Nonini, a Republican from Coeur d’Alene, waved a rosary while talking to students about abstinence but did not shout or demean the students.
Foreman is in his first term. He’s drawn attention for proposals that include allowing women undergoing abortions, and the doctors performing such procedures, to be charged with first-degree murder.
Last fall, another video captured him in a confrontation with an unseen man at the Latah County Fair, during which he called the man a “liberal nuttard.”
A Twitter account understood to be Foreman’s made several posts Monday about the incident, arguing with one of the students. One tweet said “saving the lives of my constituents” was his priority and students should talk about “killing babies” with Sen. Maryanne Jordan, D-Boise.
Jordan said she would be filing a complaint against Foreman to Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill. “It’s one thing to disagree with policy, it’s another thing to position something like that against another lawmaker,” she said. “This type of behavior is beneath the Idaho Senate.”
The situation grew more confusing Monday evening. The Twitter account — which in the past has taken questions about Foreman’s legislation, and tweeted various things in support of the Trump administration — was deactivated. It returned briefly to state it was a parody account before being removed again. A message seeking comment with the account manager was not immediately returned.
Foreman on Tuesday denied any ties to the account.
Jordan declined to tell the Statesman whether she had actually filed the complaint or not, citing the confidential nature of the Senate’s ethics complaint process. “I need to respect the process,” she said.
Hill also said that under Senate rules, he could not confirm Tuesday if an ethics complaint was filed against Foreman.