Friday, March 5, 2010

Utah's Anti-Abortion Bill Withdrawn

After the great defense of the bill earlier this week by some pro-life activists, including our own admin, has been withdrawn. It has been replaced by a new version of the bill with the words "reckless act of the woman" removed. The New York Times has a full write-up on the changed language. Here's an excerpt from the article -
A sweeping anti-abortion statute in Utah that would have allowed up to life in prison for a woman whose fetus died from her intentional or reckless behavior was withdrawn by its sponsor on Thursday and will be revised to be narrower in scope.

The original bill, which was sent to Gov. Gary R. Herbert, a Republican, for his consideration — and set off a firestorm of anxiety and criticism from abortion rights and women’s advocacy groups around the country — now goes back to the Legislature, neither signed nor vetoed.

The sponsor, Representative Carl D. Wimmer, a Republican, said he had removed a key clause that would have allowed prosecution under Utah’s criminal homicide laws for a “reckless act of the woman” that resulted in death to a fetus. Language will remain, he said, that makes a woman’s “intentional” actions, if resulting in the death of her fetus in an illegal abortion, a felony.

The bill was prompted by a case last year in which a 17-year-old who was seven months pregnant sought to induce a miscarriage by paying a man to beat her. She was arrested, but released by a judge who said seeking an abortion was not a crime.

Legal abortions, performed by a doctor, would not be affected by the old bill or its replacement. But Utah has statutes on the books intended to discourage abortions, including a parental consent requirement for minors.

3 comments: said...

If the revised version is passed, then I maintain that this is a good thing. Of course, as I predicted before, abortion groups are going to oppose it with or without the "reckless" language.

Michelle Zhang said...

I think it is a good thing because it did leave the door open to harassment of women who go through miscarriages. The language was just so broad.

It's a tricky line to walk.

Anonymous said...

It will be fun, too, to see the abortion groups twist now. Having come out so strongly against it on the basis of that language alone, they'll now have to find a new excuse and everyone will be able to go, "But you said..."