Utah GOP Lawmakers Push to Protect Pregnant Women and Unborn Babies

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Utah Rep. Brady Brammer (R) is sponsoring HB 113, a bill that would ensure biological fathers are financially responsible for half of the mother’s out-of-pocket pregnancy costs. The measure passed a Utah House committee Wednesday, 8-1.

The Salt Lake Tribune said Brammer hopes the legislation increases “the responsibility for men in the bringing of life into the world.”

“Oftentimes there’s this battle between pro-life and pro-choice where some of the pro-life positions really turn into a perception that it’s just anti-abortion,” Brammer told the state House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. “I kind of got sick of those things and I thought what could we do that’s really a pro-life thing? … and so that’s where this bill came from.”

The bill would apply to a pregnant woman’s out-of-pocket health insurance premiums and pregnancy-related medical costs, but not for the cost of an elective abortion the mother undergoes without the father’s consent.

Another bill introduced in the Utah legislature would require women to affirm “under penalty of perjury” they completed the state’s online pre-abortion program before ending their pregnancy. While the online program is already required, there is concern some women are using a web loophole that allows them to circumvent the course and just print out a certificate of completion. The measure would ensure the program is viewed fully from beginning to end without fast-forwarding.

Karrie Galloway, CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah said, according to the Tribune, the bill serves the purpose of “shaming” women by telling them, “You don’t know what you’re doing, let me educate you … so that you will change your mind.”

But Utah Rep. Steve Christiansen (R), who is sponsoring HB 253, said he simply wants to ensure women are fully informed before undertaking ending their pregnancy.

“For some reason, when it comes to abortion, there are some who want to push back when we try to ensure the woman receives relevant and complete information about what is about to happen,” he said. “We would never push back regarding other medical procedures that could have the same or similar types of consequences on a person’s life and health.”

The bill also requires the informed consent visit takes place in person, rather than through telehealth.

“I am trying to keep our doors open for people who need reproductive health care,” Galloway complained about the legislation. “And instead of working on a pandemic, [Christiansen] wants to intrude into the health care system to make it more problematic for my staff and problematic for women.”

But Christiansen dismissed opposition to the bill based on its timing.

“I think that anytime, frankly, is a good time to make sure that we are protecting women and protecting the unborn,” he said. “I don’t think there is a bad time.”

Gayle Ruzicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum, agreed, saying the legislation is essential to ensure a crucial procedure is fully understood.

“Anybody should always be able to say that they had all the information before they make such a critical decision,” she said, according to the Tribune. “We want to make sure that they have the opportunity to know all there is to know and that there was nothing that they felt was later withheld from them.”

HB 231, proposed by Utah Rep. Cheryl Acton (R), would also criminalize out-of-state transport of fetal remains, aborted or miscarried, unless they are to be buried.

Acton told the Tribune the legislation seeks to ensure fetal remains are “handled with dignity and not treated as medical waste.”

In 2020, the state legislature approved a requirement that health care facilities dispose of fetal remains by either burial or cremation. The criminalization of out-of-state transfers is a follow-up to that measure.

These measures are being introduced in Utah as the Biden-Harris administration is intent upon unraveling the pro-life policies of the Trump administration. Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life organization, told Breitbart News on Friday during the annual march the Biden administration is already making “extreme” and “out of touch” decisions:

Matt Perdie

In March 2020, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) signed a bill into law that would ban most elective abortions in the state, except for those in cases of rape, incest, or serious risk to bodily function or death of the woman, should the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade be overturned.

As Fox13 News reported at the time, Utah Sen. Dan McCay (R), the sponsor of the bill, said he is “grateful to live in a pro-life state where we seek to protect the unborn.”

“I’m hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will take the opportunity to overturn the barbaric practice of abortion,” he added.

A report by the pro-abortion rights League of Women Voters of Utah, noted that, within the last five years, the Utah legislature has passed more than a dozen new abortion restrictions.

“In the 2020 legislative session alone, Utah lawmakers considered 11 bills to add restrictions to or prohibit abortion with certain exceptions,” the report noted.