The Utah Legislature's Abortion Task Force has recommended three bills that would end "birth-control abortions" within the state.
Public hearings across the state in the next two weeks will allow task force members a chance to fine-tune the bills before they are introduced in the Legislature in January.- The abortions limitation bill would allow an abortion only if it were needed to save the mother's life or prevent serious injury, if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest that had been reported to the police, or if the child would be born with irreparable and severe physical or mental disabilities "incompatible to sustain life." A second doctor, unconnected with the first, would have to support the assessment that the child would be disabled.
An abortion, if performed, would have to take place in a hospital after the first trimester of pregnancy.
- The proposed abortion amendments, another bill, prohibits abortion with the same exceptions. But it provides that no abortion can be performed after eight weeks gestation, "if the above requirement is ever temporarily restrained or enjoined by judicial order." However, the abortion would be allowed to save the life of the pregnant woman or to prevent serious damage to her health.
- The final bill, titled "Limiting Birth Control Abortions," was introduced in the House of Representatives during the last legislative session and carried 18 co-sponsors, in addition to sponsor Rep. Pat Nix, R-Orem.
The legislation also carries the same exceptions as the other bills: rape, incest, severe impairment or a threat to the mother's life and health.
It also allows for an injunction against the person performing or trying to perform an abortion. Under the bill, the attorney general, a county attorney, the women "who was given or about to be given an abortion," the parent of a minor upon whom an abortion was attempted or given, and the father of the unborn child all have the legal right to petition the court for a permanent injunction.
"A showing of injury, loss or damage to the plaintiff is not necessary in order for the court to grant an injunction under this section," the bill says.
Anyone who deliberately violates the injunction is subject to a $10,000 penalty for the first violation and the amount would double for each succeeding violation, up to seven violations. After that, the amount fined for the seventh violation would be fined for any other violations.
The bill says that no fine can be assessed against the woman who had an abortion or who tried to have one.
Besides the penalty for violation of the injunction, the woman who had or tried to have an abortion or her parent can sue for up to $10,000 in punitive damages and three times the general and special damages the plaintiffs sustained.
Consent is not an issue in seeking damages.
The Legislature's Abortion Task Force will take public comment on its recommendation legislation over the next two weeks. All hearings begin at 7 p.m.:
Oct. 22 - Salt Lake City, County Commission chambers, 2100 S. State.
Oct. 23 - Richfield, Sevier County Courthouse, downstairs auditorium, 250 N. Main.
Oct. 24 - Cedar City, Thorley Recital Hall Music Building, 300 W. 200 South, Southern Utah State.
Oct. 25 - St. George, City Council chambers, St. George City Hall, 175 E. 200 North.
Oct. 29 - Vernal, District Court chambers, Uintah County Courthouse, 147 E. Main.
Oct. 30 - Price, County Commission chambers, Carbon County Building, 120 E. Main.
Nov. 1 - Orem, City Council chambers, Orem City Hall, 56 N. State.
Nov. 5 - Ogden, Wildcat Theater, Shephard Union Building, Weber State College.
Nov. 7 - Municipal chambers, Logan City Hall, 255 N. Main.