by Steven Ertelt
February 13, 2007
Salt Lake City, UT (LifeNews.com) — The Utah state legislature on Monday turned a bill meant to prohibit almost all abortions in the state into its previous incarnation — a trigger law that would make abortions illegal if Roe v. Wade is ever overturned.
The state House voted 51-23 to turn the bill back into the trigger law that would only go into effect if the Supreme Court overturns its landmark 1973 decision.
Once the House changed the measure, it approved the final version of the trigger law on a 62-12 vote. Now it heads to the state Senate, which is expected to sign off on it.
Representative Paul Ray, a Republican, was the main sponsor of the abortion ban and he wanted Utah to directly challenge the Roe decision. But, the Utah attorney general said it could cost the state as much as$2 million to $4 million dollars to defend the abortion ban in court.
"This isn’t a decision about how we feel about abortion — this is a decision about what is in the best interests of this state and what is likely to be successful," Rep. Kay McIff said about the need to make the change, according to the Deseret News.
Rep. Stephen Urquhart agreed, saying, "I strongly oppose abortion, as do most people in this body. But I do think that a trigger best serves the needs of the people of this state."
He said other states with more money should take the lead in funding a bill that would go through the court system to possibly overturn the abortion decision.
Senate President John Valentine said the bill would likely be approved in the Senate as the trigger law rather than changing it to the abortion ban.
"I’ve got seven or eight members of our body that would be concerned about trying to take it head-on," Valentine said.
Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble also said he was fine with making the ban a trigger law.
Utah Planned Parenthood President Karrie Galloway said during the committee hearing on the bill that her group was opposed to it.
"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?"
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.