Members of the Legislature's Abortion Task Force heard from both sides during a hearing last week at Southern Utah State College.
The meeting was one of several being conducted statewide by the 14-member panel to solicit public comment on several proposed laws restricting abortion.Task force co-chairman Rep. Evan Olsen, R-Young Ward, conducted the hearing.
"We recognize there is a difference of opinion on this committee on the issue as well as throughout the state," he told an audience of about 30.
Under present Utah law, all abortions must be done by a physician. If performed after more than 90 days of gestation, the procedure must be done in a hospital or clinic.
In addition, if the baby is fully formed and could possibly live outside of the womb, an abortion can only be performed to save the life of the mother.
Statistics provided by task force members reveal that the abortion rate in Utah peaked in 1980 and then declined, leveling out over the past three years.
Cedar City resident Shannon Brooks, who spoke against abortion with a baby in her arms, argued that there should be no exceptions allowing abortion.
Another resident, Jim Case, said he also opposed abortion, but nonetheless could not justify abolishing it.
"I believe if there is no federal funding for birth control and education and no funding for these unwanted children born into poverty, the government has no right to tell a woman what to do with her body."