Two abortion bills wait for further approval

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    By Sara Israelsen

    Two abortion bills passed the Utah Senate and House of Representatives and wait on Gov. Walker”s desk after the close of the 2004 legislative session.

    Bill sponsor Sen. Curtis Bramble, R-Provo, said Walker has three options for the bills. She can sign them into law, allow them to pass into law by default without a signature or veto them.

    Senate Bill 68 would prohibit the use of government funding for abortion clinics or practitioners, while SB69 would prohibit partial-birth abortions and punish doctors who perform them.

    Partial-birth abortion involves partially delivering a living fetus, then using an instrument to crush the skull and remove the contents.

    The bill is designed to help protect the most vulnerable, Bramble said, and he is gratified the legislature agreed.

    SB69 was revised three times and expanded from 134 lines to 146 to clear up unintended inconsistencies, clarify protections for the mother and describe in more detail what actions are prohibited.

    The bill also had a friendly amendment, specifying that should the court reject the new abortion law, the existing abortion laws would stay in force.

    The strongest opponents of the bills were Planned Parenthood of Utah and the ACLU of Utah. The organizations argued a woman should have the right to choose, and states should not interfere with such a personal issue.

    Bramble noted the expected opposition from Democrats in the House, but said some Democrats sided with Republicans to support the bills.

    “By definition, if you have some Democrat support, it”s bipartisan,” Bramble said. “It”s unfortunate that there wasn”t more participation in the minority party.”

    Supporters of the bill include more than 20 co-sponsors from the Senate, as well as members of Eagle Forum, a national pro-family movement.

    “It”s time that the traditional American values be asserted on Capitol Hill,” Bramble said, “both in the abortion debate and the definition of marriage. These issues, these moral issues of abortion, marriage are the fundamental building blocks of our culture and society — they”re pretty important.”

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