Utah Bill Would Ban Abortions on Unborn Babies After 15 Weeks

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Jan 18, 2019   |   11:39AM   |   Salt Lake City, Utah

A pro-life female lawmaker introduced a bill this week to protect unborn babies from abortion in Utah.

KUTV reports Utah state Rep. Cheryl Acton’s legislation would prohibit abortions after 15 weeks and create one of the earliest abortion bans in the country.

“It doesn’t prohibit abortion entirely,” the pro-life Republican told FOX 13 in Salt Lake City. “If someone does not have a moral objection to it, they have three months to decide.”

Her bill allows exceptions for rape, threats to the mother’s life and fatal fetal anomalies.

By 15 weeks, unborn babies are nearly fully formed; their major organs, fingers, toes, eyes, ears, taste buds and even their own unique fingerprints already have developed. By this point in the pregnancy, scientists say unborn babies can respond to touch. Babies at this stage also have been observed yawning, smiling and sucking their thumbs.

The United States is one of only seven countries in the world that allow elective abortions after 20 weeks, a fact confirmed by the Washington Post fact checker. Acton’s bill would put Utah laws in line with most other countries’ abortion laws.

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But abortion activists quickly attacked the bill. ABC 4 reports fellow state Rep. Angela Romero, a pro-abortion Democrat, blasted the legislation in a statement, saying the state should leave abortion alone.

“Utah has already done enough to hinder women who seek their constitutionally-protected right to govern their body,” Romero said. “We shouldn’t be pushing women further into the shadows. A much better issue for the legislature to focus on should be comprehensive sex education and improving access to healthcare programs.”

Planned Parenthood’s Utah branch threatened to file a lawsuit if it passes.

“This particular bill, as currently written, is blatantly unconstitutional. Time and time again, the courts have struck down similar abortion bans, including, most recently, a 15-week ban in Mississippi,” the abortion chain’s Utah president Karrie Galloway said.

Mississippi leaders are fighting in court for the right to prohibit abortions on unborn babies after 15 weeks. A federal judge ruled against it in November, but state leaders are appealing.

Many states have abortion bans that protect unborn children after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is the most they are able to do considering the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to allow states to ban abortions entirely. But Mississippi and Utah are pushing the envelope by banning abortion starting at 15 weeks.

It is unclear if the legislation would be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.