by Steven Ertelt
August 3, 2006
Salt Lake City, UT (LifeNews.com) — A Utah lawmaker wants the state legislature to approve a measure that would make abortion illegal should Roe v. Wade ever be reversed. The law would be similar to that of a handful of other states that have approved such measures hoping the Supreme Court will overturn its 1973 decision allowing virtually unlimited abortions.
State Rep. Paul Ray, a Republican, thinks that a new state ban on abortions that the South Dakota state legislature approved will eventually reach the high court.
Approved earlier this year and signed by the governor, the South Dakota ban prohibits all abortions except those necessary to save the life of the mother. State residents will vote on the ban this November and, if they uphold it, Planned Parenthood is expected to take the law to court.
Lower courts would likely declare the ban unconstitutional, ruling in line with the high court. It would likely be appealed to the Supreme Court, which currently has a 5-4 majority in favor of abortion.
“Your biggest opposition is going to be Planned Parenthood. That’s an organization that is not from Utah,” Ray told the Associated Press. “They don’t have the same standards and values we have here in Utah. They’re quite a bit more liberal.”
He said he doesn’t want the state legislature to have to wait to pass a ban on abortions if the South Dakota abortion ban is upheld by the Supreme Court between Utah legislative sessions, which are short compared to most states.
“If we have to wait until the next legislative session, we’re going to have an onslaught, a rush of abortions to go in and beat the deadline. This way, it’s automatic. You don’t have a window where there’s a whole extra bunch of abortions,” Ray said.
Utah approved an abortion ban in the early 1990s that prohibited abortions in most circumstances. The ban was overturned in a lower court and the Supreme Court did not take the case.
According to a June 2005 report from the Life Legal Defense Fund, a pro-life law firm, Utah would have legalized abortion if Roe is overturned.
Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana and South Dakota also have trigger laws on abortion.
Ray also says he plans to sponsor a measure that would require abortion practitioners to tell women considering an abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy that it will cause severe pain for the unborn child.
He sponsored a bill to that effect last year that the state House approved 63-8, but it stalled in the state Senate in a legislative committee by one vote.
The Utah legislature goes back in session in January for 45 days beginning in January.
There were 3,665 abortions in Utah in the most recent year for which statistics are available and more than 250 women from other states had abortions there, including Wyoming where there is no abortion facility.