Utah Lawmakers To Propose Bills Targeting Planned Parenthood, Banning Abortion

November 19, 2015 — Utah lawmakers on Wednesday announced plans to propose two antiabortion-rights measures, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports.

According to the AP/Bee, the lawmakers -- state Sens. Margaret Dayton (R) and Curt Bramble (R) -- outlined the bills at a conference launching a new coalition of nine organizations that oppose abortion rights.

Bill Targeting Planned Parenthood

Dayton said she plans to propose a bill that would bar Planned Parenthood clinics in the state from receiving any public funding (Whitehurst, AP/Sacramento Bee, 11/18).

Dayton's bill follows Gov. Gary Herbert's (R) order earlier this summer to the state Department of Health to stop distributing federal funding to the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. Herbert issued the order after the antiabortion-rights group the Center for Medical Progress released a series of misleading videos targeting Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit over the decision, and a federal judge in October said the state must continue sending federal payments to Planned Parenthood (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/16).

According to the AP/Bee, PPAU receives roughly $200,000 in federal funds to help support testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections, as well as for sexuality education. The organization does not receive any state funds, and the federal funding cannot be used to cover most abortion care.

Abortion Ban

Bramble said he would propose a measure that would "restrict abortions after the time when a fetus can feel pain," although he said he would prefer to overturn Roe v. Wade, the AP/Bee reports.

Bramble did not specify at what point of gestation the bill would take effect. However, the Guttmacher Institute reports that 11 other states have passed bills banning the procedure at 20 weeks of pregnancy based on the medically unfounded claim that fetuses can feel pain at that point of development. According to the AP/Bee, a 20-week abortion ban in Arizona was overturned by the courts in 2013, and the Supreme Court later declined to review the case.

Meanwhile, PPAU CEO Karrie Galloway criticized both state lawmakers for targeting women's health. She added that PPAU's nine clinics would remain open to provide women "the care they need" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 11/18).