SALT LAKE CITY, March 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Utah Legislature has given its final approval to a ban on most abortions and a requirement that fetal remains be treated humanely, both of which now await signatures from Republican Gov. Gary Herbert.
Senate Bill 174 would ban abortion except in cases of rape, incest, severe birth defects, or threat of “substantial impairment” to the mother’s health. It would not take effect unless and until the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Senate Bill 67 requires that aborted babies be either buried or cremated by the facilities that aborted them.
The abortion ban passed the Senate 22-5 and the House 51-21, while the fetal burial bill passed the Senate 22-6 and the House 58-14, Deseret News reported. A third pro-life bill, which would have required abortionists to offer women the opportunity to see ultrasound images of their babies, passed the state Senate but died in the House. In the Senate, six female lawmakers (two of whom were Republicans) walked out in protest of the ultrasound bill.
“Utah already has over 30 restrictions on abortion, and Utahns have shown they’re not interested in more restrictions in abortion,” complained Alliance for a Better Utah spokeswoman Katie Matheson, who said her group will push Herbert to veto SB174. The governor has not yet hinted whether he will comply.
“My rights stop when it hurts someone else,” said Republican state Sen. Daniel McCay, the lead sponsor of SB174. He noted that government’s “primary function is to protect life.”
Because they don’t take effect until after Roe falls, “trigger laws” like SB174 won’t provoke lawsuits or impact future abortion deliberations at the Supreme Court. Supporters say it’s important to prepare state laws for a favorable abortion ruling, which they hope President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees will deliver in the near future.
Bills such as SB67, meanwhile, are meant to prevent the bodies of aborted children from being treated like medical waste, both out of respect for their dignity and to underscore their humanity. They have been motivated across the country by horror stories about abortion facilities destroying the babies they kill with methods such as “big ovens,” or abortionists stockpiling corpses on their own property.