Utah: Pro-Life Lawmakers File Bills to De-Fund Planned Parenthood, Ban Late-Term Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 19, 2015   |   6:09PM   |   Salt Lake City, UT

Utah lawmakers say they are drafting two new bills that would protect unborn babies from painful late-term abortions and de-fund Planned Parenthood.

The pro-life lawmakers announced the two proposed bills Wednesday during a news conference, after a federal judge recently blocked Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s directive to stop disbursing federal funds to Planned Parenthood in Utah, according to the Desert News.

State officials said they want to de-fund the abortion giant because of a series of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress showing top Planned Parenthood officials discussing harvesting and trafficking aborted babies’ body parts. Gov. Herbert told the AP that he was offended by the “casualness” and callousness” of the abortion giant’s top officials as they discussed crushing unborn babies’ bodies and haggling over the price of their body parts in the undercover videos.

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Utah state Sen. Margaret Dayton said she is working on drafting the de-funding bill, which would block funding to Planned Parenthood and other groups that promote or provide abortions. Planned Parenthood in Utah receives about $200,000 a year in federal funds, according to the Associated Press.

“If we de-fund a certain organization that promotes a practice that we do not believe in, women’s services will still be available,” Dayton said at the news conference.

Utah state Sen. Curt Bramble announced that he is preparing a bill to ban abortions when an unborn baby can feel pain, commonly 20 weeks, according to the AP. So far, 11 other states have passed laws banning abortion at 20 weeks when unborn babies can feel pain, according to the report.

Bramble said the bill is just a start. “If we could run a bill that would repeal Roe v. Wade, we would,” he said.

The Wednesday news conference was hosted by a new, nine-member alliance called the Utah Pro-Life Coalition, which will work with lawmakers to pass the pro-life bills, according to a press release from the coalition.

Kimberly Ells, a member of the coalition and president of the Family Watch International Utah Chapter, told the Desert News that the videos showed a “chink in the armor” of Planned Parenthood and brought the organizations together.

“I think we have the momentum right now,” Ells said.

The pro-life coalition said it hopes to raise awareness about the tragic impact of abortion in Utah and motivate people to stand for life. The group said it is dedicated to making sure there are plenty of places where women can receive quality health care through pregnancy that do not support abortion.

“We are uniting today to bring our state to the forefront of the national pro-life movement,” the groups said in the release. “We are outraged by the inhumane actions of Planned Parenthood and will not stop until they and all other abortion companies stop.”

The coalition members include Pro-Life Utah, Family Watch International, Knights of Columbus Utah, Standing Together, The Sutherland Institute, Utah Eagle Forum, Utah’s Fight for Life, United Women’s Forum and United Families Utah.

Planned Parenthood of Utah, unsurprisingly, issued a statement opposing the two bills. The affiliate’s CEO Karrie Galloway accused lawmakers of trying to “score political points for interfering in private medical decisions.”

Both bills are currently being drafted. They are expected to be introduced in January.

ACTION: Contact members of the Utah legislature to urge support for de-funding Planned Parenthood and banning late-term abortions.