- An Idaho Republican said his experience milking dairy cows offered insights into reproductive healthcare.
- Idaho Rep. Jack Nelsen apologized for the comment, saying he respected women’s “right to choose.”
- Earlier this month, US Supreme Court upheld Idaho’s near-total abortion ban, which has few exceptions.
A newly-elected Idaho lawmaker apologized after he compared reproductive health policies to his experience milking cows as a farmer.
Republican Rep. Jack Nelsen said he was “embarrassed” that he suggested his experience as a “lifelong dairy farmer” offered him insight into reproductive issues, according to the Idaho Statesman.
“I’ve milked a few cows, spent most of my time walking behind lines of cows, so if you want some ideas on repro and the women’s health thing, I have some definite opinions,” Nelson said with a laugh during a meeting of the state’s House Agricultural Affairs Committee, per the Statesman.
The comment sparked immediate backlash from Idaho’s Democratic party, who tweeted a video of the incident, adding that “politicians like Jack Nelsen have no business mandating our reproductive health care decisions.”
—Idaho Democratic Party (@IdahoDems) January 12, 2023
Earlier this month, the US Supreme Court upheld Idaho’s near-total abortion ban, which has exceptions for rape, incest, and saving a pregnant patient’s life.
Nelsen said in a statement to the Statesman that he was “embarrassed” and “offended others,” the outlet reported.
“The way I phrased my statement about women and reproductive rights yesterday completely missed the mark,” Nelson said, per the Statesman. “I am deeply sorry. I recognize the mistake and commit to doing better in the future.”
According to the Statesman, Nelson said during his campaign that the government shouldn’t be involved in abortion care, a sentiment he repeated in his apology.
“I absolutely respect women and the right to choose their own health care,” Nelson said in his statement, per the Statesman. “I have always operated and will continue to operate under the standard that the government does not belong in the doctor’s office.”
A spokesperson for Nelson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Saturday.