by Steven Ertelt
October 8, 2004
Salt Lake City, UT (LifeNews.com) — A new rule quietly began this week that allows hospitals to perform abortions on severely handicapped babies. Utah Department of Health Director Scott Williams approved the rule that allows hospitals to declare that no taxpayer funds were used in the abortions.
The University of Utah and Intermountain Health Care hospitals were concerned they would lose state dollars from the CHIP and Medicaid programs after the state legislature adopted a measure prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortions.
Williams issued an emergency rule in June allowing the health care providers to perform the abortions.
Later, the Utah Health Department drafted a rule allowing hospitals to more carefully itemize how public funds are used to pay for certain procedures.
Pro-life activists insist that children with disabilities should be protected from harm — not have their lives violently ended through abortion. They note that being “pro-life” means opposing abortion — even when the unborn child has health problems.
William Sharp, chairman of the pro-life group Life for Utah, said he was upset the health rule gutted the anti-funding law.
"The purpose of that (original) bill was to diminish abortions in the state of Utah. This rule has the purpose and intent of just doing business as usual," Sharp said.
After the law went into effect, the hospitals began referring pregnant women who wanted abortions to three Salt Lake City abortion facilities.
An estimated 70 Utah women undergo abortions each year because their unborn children have been diagnosed with physical handicaps.