Gov. Herbert signs Down syndrome abortion ban

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Governor Gary Herbert signed a bill into law could prohibit abortions solely on the basis of a Down syndrome diagnosis. 

The governor’s office quietly announced the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act or House Bill 166 was among 87 other pieces of legislation signed into law Friday afternoon. 

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.” 

But the legislation signed Friday will only go into effect if a similar law is upheld in court elsewhere, a provision added to address criticism that it could embroil the state in an expensive lawsuit.

Planned Parenthood Action Council of Utah maintains that the bill is unconstitutional and “because of the trigger clause included in the bill,” it does not expect the abortion ban to ever go into effect.

Opponents of the ban say the personal, complex decision to terminate a pregnancy should be left to families and doctors. 

Similar laws in Indiana, Louisiana and Ohio have been blocked by courts.

Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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