Gov. Herbert addresses Down syndrome abortion bill

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A bill regarding Down syndrome and abortion passed the Senate Thursday.

The Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Abortion Act or House Bill 166 would make it illegal for a woman to get an abortion if the sole reason for the abortion is because the child has Down syndrome.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Karianne Lisonbee (R-Clearfield), also “requires that a pregnant woman be provided certain information before receiving an abortion when a prenatal screening or diagnostic test indicates that the pregnant woman’s unborn child has or may have Down syndrome.” 

Governor Gary Herbert was asked if the bill is constitutional during his monthly news conference.

“And I think the modification is that if that is, in fact, unconstitutional, they’ve taken the provision and said that we won’t implement this law unless other states have tested it and it’s been found to be constitutional that will take some of the risk and expense out of fighting that on a constitutional basis,” said Herbert.

Lawmakers attempted to pass a similar bill in 2018, but they were unsuccessful. Before it was introduced in committee this year, Lisonbee modified the bill, so it would only go into effect if a similar measure in another state was upheld in court. 

The bill is now headed to Herbert’s desk where he will decide whether to sign it into law or veto it.

In a statement on Facebook, Planned Parenthood Action Council of Utah said it was “disappointed” in the passage of the bill. 

“Though not surprising, we are disappointed our Legislature has chosen to play politics with the personal, private medical decisions of Utah women and families by passing H.B. 166. The abortion ban in this bill is unconstitutional, and we have confidence the courts will continue to hold that standard. Because of the trigger clause included in the bill, we do not expect the abortion ban to ever go into effect. We urge our Utah legislators to spend their limited time and resources on bills that actually help their constituents and stop attempting to restrict access to a safe a legal medical procedure.”

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 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...