When lawmakers passed the nation's most restrictive abortion law earlier in the session, they were warned that defending the new law, presumably all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, would be extremely costly.
So on Monday, the House voted 58-16 to create an abortion litigation trust fund to which private individuals and organizations could donate money that will be used to offset the costs of defending the abortion law."We don't know how much (will be donated), but I believe it will be substantial," said Rep. Evan Olsen, R-Young Ward.
Two attempts to amend the bill failed. Rep. Arlo James, D-Kearns, tried to insert an amendment making the defense fund the only source of funding for abortion litigation, while Rep. Janet Rose, D-Salt Lake, tried to amend the bill so that any extra funds would go to the Department of Human Services to fund the increased case load resulting from fewer abortions.
The Legislature earlier passed a bill that prohibits abortions except in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal deformity and in cases where the mother's life and health are endangered.
Throughout the debate, individuals and organizations in favor of the restrictive measure promised to assist the state in defense of the law.
"We heard plenty of testimony that people were willing, but if those private sources are really willing they ought to put their money where their mouth is," James said.