Washington - The Utah House of Representatives last Friday passed two pro-life bills, the strongest post the reversal of Roe v. Wade, aimed at restricting access to abortions in the state.
The bills would shut down abortion clinics that solely offer abortions, and would also limit the time frame for abortions to the first 18 weeks of pregnancy, with exceptions for rape and incest victims.
The bills were passed in a strictly party-line vote of 53-14, and if passed by the Senate and signed into law, they would become some of the most restrictive pro-life legislation in the state since Roe v. Wade was overturned.
One of the bills, sponsored by Republican Representative Karianne Lisonbee, would prohibit abortions outside of hospitals and prevent clinics that only provide abortions from being licensed after May 2, 2023. Out-of-state actors prescribing abortion drugs to Utah residents would also face criminal charges.
The other bill, sponsored by Republican Representative Kera Birkeland, expands care for victims of rape and incest by providing health care for the victim and the child during and after the pregnancy.
The bills have faced criticism from Democrats, Planned Parenthood Action Council of Utah, and the Utah chapter of the ACLU, who argue that they are a direct attack on reproductive health care and will make it much more difficult for Utah residents to access essential health services.
However, supporters of the bills argue that they are necessary to protect the rights of the unborn and promote the value of human life at all stages. The bills will now advance to the Utah Senate, which is majority Republican.