2019 Utah Legislative Session Wrap Up
From our VP of Public Policy, Heather Stringfellow:
Last night the Utah Legislature wrapped its 45-day session. From where I sit, it was pretty much a bust. Far too many policy decisions were made behind closed (caucus) doors and our lawmakers made it clear they will ignore the voices of their constituents to advance their own political agendas.
There were a couple silver linings: The passage of Representative Pitcher’s bill to do away with the practice of shackling inmates while they are giving birth and Senator Thatcher’s hate crimes legislation. This common sense bill is a much needed addition to the criminal provision and was allowed to pass after years of denial, as the super-majority cracked open the door to keep the liberals appeased.
I receive a number of news clip summaries each day, and it is striking how similar the narratives are from state to state. My inbox makes clear the nationwide conservative agenda rolling out in “red states.” An agenda that includes scaling back voter-led initiatives, refusing to fund or implement Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives, whittling away at equal rights but ensuring the right to “stand your ground”, rolling back access to birth control and sex education, and the pièce de résistance—restricting a woman’s right to control her own body.
Our legislature passed two abortion restrictions in an attempt to keep up with their counterparts in other states.
- Representative Lisonbee brought back her Down syndrome abortion ban again this year with a “trigger clause”, which means that it will merely sit on the books until a binding court finds that pre-viability bans are constitutional.
- Representative Acton successfully ran Utah Eagle Forum’s bill to ban abortion at 18-weeks in Utah. The unconstitutional 18-week abortion ban did not include a “trigger clause”, and if Governor Herbert signs H.B. 136, it is slated to take effect in May of this year.
We need you to reach out to Governor Herbert today and ask him to veto H.B. 136. It is as easy as adding your own comments to this form which will submit directly to his office. As with all communication to elected officials, we ask that supporters use respectful, but direct language. Please take two minutes right now and write to the Governor and ask him to Veto H.B. 136.
Rest assured that Planned Parenthood will keep up the fight on our end. If Governor Herbert signs H.B. 136 into law, we are preparing to take legal action with our partners at the ACLU of Utah. Planned Parenthood is ready to rise to the occasion and will defend a woman’s right to govern her own health and body in Utah.
If you aren’t already signed up to be a Planned Parenthood Ambassador in Utah, now is the time to join the Beehive as we swarm and protect our hive. Planned Parenthood is gearing up and joining forces with allies to change the hostile political landscape in Utah. November 2020 here we come!
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