Seven Democratic legislative candidates told National Organization for Women members the Legislature is controlled by white, male, Mormon Republicans more concerned about "smoke screen" issues than with human services.

The seven defined smoke screen issues as stricter abortion laws and prayer in public schools."Booze used to be the smoke screen behind which legislators hid the critical issues of the day," said Senate District 9 candidate John Dwan. Lawmakers should be spending their time dealing with unfair taxation, human issues and education, he said.

"It looks like we have a bunch of fanatics setting up Utah for a major embarrassment just to make a point," he told NOW members, referring to the move for abortion laws he feels will not stand up to constitutional challenges.

Dwan participated in the NOW meeting Thursday with fellow Democrats Karen Shepherd, Senate District 1; Jean Stauffer, House District 54; Rep. Paula Julander, House District 24; Helen Weeks, House District 60; Rep. Blaze Wharton, House District 26; and Susan Way, House District 27.

Julander said if conservative legislators insist on passing a strict abortion law "they can believe in, they have to be prepared to put money out for family planning." She said preventing unwanted pregnancies is the only way to avoid the need for abortions.