Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a law Saturday to protect unborn babies by banning most abortions in his state.
State Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, who sponsored the bill, praised the governor for advancing protections for babies in the womb, Fox 13 Now reports.
“I’m grateful to live in a pro-life state where we seek to protect the unborn,” McCay said. “I’m hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will take the opportunity to overturn the barbaric practice of abortion.”
The new law, Senate Bill 174, prohibits abortions with limited exceptions for rape, incest, risks to the mother’s life and fatal fetal deformities. Abortionists who violate the law could be charged with a felony.
The pro-life law will go into effect only after the courts allow states to restrict abortions again. Currently, under Roe v. Wade, states are prohibited from protecting unborn babies from abortion prior to viability.
KUER News reports the abortion ban was one of more than 150 bills that the Republican governor signed into law Saturday. Also receiving his signature was a bill requiring a dignified burial or cremation of aborted and miscarried babies’ remains. It is similar to an Indiana law that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2019. The court ruled that requiring a proper burial for aborted babies is not an undue burden on women’s access to abortion.
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The U.S. Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion, and instead allowed abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.
Abortions will not immediately become illegal when the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe. Instead, the power to protect unborn babies or keep abortions legal will return to the states.
Some states already have legislation in place to ban abortions when that happens. Ohio and Idaho are considering similar legislation this spring. In 2019, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Missouri also passed laws to ban abortions once Roe v. Wade is overturned.
There is more hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court may consider overturning Roe, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain. The high court heard a Louisiana abortion case in March. A ruling is expected in June.