by Steven Ertelt
January 31, 2007
Salt Lake City, UT (LifeNews.com) — Utah legislators had originally intended to vote on a trigger law that would have banned abortions once the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling is overturned. Instead, a state House committee approved a bill that would challenge Roe head on by attempting to ban virtually all abortions now.
The House Health and Human Services Committee adopted the abortion ban that would prohibit abortions except to save the mother’s life, in cases of rape or incest or ”substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”
Rep. Paul Ray, a Republican, sponsored the measure and told the Tribune newspaper he looks forward to a likely legal challenge. He also said the state would put together a fund that pro-life advocates could contribute to that would gather as much as $1 million for legal defense of the bill.
"I’m excited to take this challenge to the Supreme Court," he said. "We’re known for our family values and our children. We have the opportunity to lead the nation."
After an hour of public comment on the trigger law, Republican Rep. Stephen Sandstrom replaced that bill with Ray’s and called for a vote on it. Ray said he supported the move.
"This is the most important legislation that I could possibly be involved with in the entire time I’m a state legislator," Sandstrom said, according to the Tribune. "We’re talking about preserving the sanctity of human life. The state of Utah should lead the charge."
Utah and Planned Parenthood President Karrie Galloway testified against the abortion ban saying it doesn’t offer solutions to women with unplanned pregnancies if abortion is illegal.
"Abortion is rare in Utah," Galloway said. "But there are at least 3,000 women who need to make that decision. What are we going to do for them?"
Eagle Forum Secretary Marianne Christensen spoke in favor of the bill saying that lawmakers need to protect unborn children from abortions.
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.
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 only one abortion center.