Utah lawmaker seeks to ban abortions after 15 weeks

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A state lawmaker wants to make most abortions after 15 weeks illegal in Utah.

Representative Cheryl Acton (R-District 43) has proposed House Bill 136, Abortion Amendments, for the upcoming legislative session.

If passed, abortions past 15 weeks would only be allowed if necessary to prevent death or “substantial or irreversible impairment” of the woman. 

Rep. Angela Romero (D-District 26) spoke out against the proposed bill.  In a statement released Wednesday, Romero said the issue is a federal issue and the “state should leave it alone.”

Romero cited similar legislation that was struck down around the country and ruled unconstitutional. In November 2018, a federal judge struck down a Mississippi abortion law that banned most abortions after 15 weeks. The judge ruled that the law “unequivocally” violated women’s constitutional rights.

“This shouldn’t happen.  This is part of a nationwide, calculated effort to impede women from having a choice for an abortion,” Romero added.

“Utah has already done enough to hinder women who seek their constitutionally-protected right to govern their body.  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.”

Progress advocacy organization Alliance for a Better Utah calls the bill a “waste of taxpayer dollars.” 

“Rep. Acton’s bill is unconstitutional. Our state lawmakers are once again attempting to chip away at safe and legal abortion access. Luckily, such attempts to restrict women’s rights do not hold up in the courts,” said Lauren Simpson policy director for Alliance for a Better Utah.  “Message bills such as this abortion ban are an embarrassment to our state. There are so many wonderful projects and causes that are denied funding each year because of a lack of funding. We should invest our taxpayer dollars in those priorities, rather than paying more lawyers to defend patently unconstitutional bills.”

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