Like many Americans, Utahns are split on the abortion question, the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll shows. But a majority of Utahns either favor doing nothing about Utah abortion laws or favor restricting abortions to cases in which the "life or health" of the mother is threatened.
Monday, the 1991 Legislature formally started the abortion debate, and it's clear some kind of abortion legislation will be adopted.Legislative leaders hope to have a compromise abortion bill passed by the Senate on Tuesday, passed by the House on Wednesday and on Gov. Norm Bangerter's desk by Thursday.
Pollster Dan Jones & Associates found in a poll taken in early January that 29 percent of Utahns want no changes in state abortion law.
Twenty-seven percent want abortions restricted to cases of rape or incest, where the life or health of the mother is threatened or where the unborn child is severely deformed.
An identical 27 percent want abortions restricted to rape or incest, where the life of the mother is endangered or the fetus so deformed it couldn't survive birth.
Six percent want all abortions outlawed, no exceptions.
Five percent want the state to support anti-abortion lawsuits of other states but not change Utah's laws yet.
And 6 percent didn't have an opinion.
Outlawing abortions except in cases of rape, incest, endangerment of the mother's life and fetal deformity that would result in death is basically the legislative bill drafted by the Abortion Task Force.
Outlawing abortions except in cases of rape or incest, danger to the life or health of the mother or severe fetal deformity is basically the compromise bill sought by legislative leaders and Gov. Norm Bangerter.
While Jones found no single abortion position has majority support among Utahns, if you add together those who prefer no changes in abortion law with those who favor the position of the compromise bill, you get a majority of 56 percent.
Jones' survey shows some interesting demographics.
For example, while nationally women are a bit more liberal on the abortion question than men, Utah women are slightly more conservative on abortion alternatives than Utah men.
And Utah Catholics are more conservative on abortion alternatives than members of the LDS Church, Jones found.
Which of the following action do you prefer the legislature take concerning regulating abortions in Utah:
Take no action; current laws are adequate 29%
Join in other state's legal efforts to
restrict abortions, but don't change
Utah's laws yet 5%
Change Utah's law to restrict abortions
after the first trimester to cases of rape
or incest, life or health of the mother
or severe fetal deformity. 27%
Change Utah's law to restrict abortions to
cases of rape or incest, life of the mother
or severe fetal deformity that ensures death
of the baby at birth. 27%
Change Utah's law to outlaw all abortions
in Utah, no exceptions. 6%
Don't know 6%