Week One of the 2018 Utah Legislative Session
Utah’s 2018 Legislative Session’s first week is in the books.
On Monday, Representative Lisonbee introduced her Down Syndrome Nondiscrimination Abortion Act (H.B. 205). The bill aims to make it illegal for a physician to perform an abortion if they have knowledge that the person seeking the abortion is doing so because the baby has been diagnosed with Down syndrome or may have Down syndrome. H.B. 205 is an unconstitutional abortion ban, and it is part of the national, extremist movement to restrict access to safe and legal abortion. The language of the bill comes directly from model legislation pushed by a national “right to life” group and was recommended by them as the next step for the Utah legislature in 2018.
On Wednesday, Representative Ward’s Family Planning Services Amendments (H.B. 12) was heard and voted on by the House Health and Human Services Committee. The bill, which would direct the Department of Health to apply for a Medicaid waiver that will fund providing family planning (contraception and information) services to low-income women in the “coverage gap” in Utah, was passed with only one “nay” vote (Rep. Thurston).
H.B. 205 was heard and voted on by the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Lines of people wanting to give public comment on both sides of the issue extended out the hearing room’s doors–those for the bill relied on testimonies from people with Down syndrome, their parents, Eagle Forum and Pro-Life Utah members and those against the ban included testimonies from OB-GYNs, disability rights activists, a lawyer from ACLU, Planned Parenthood Ambassadors and allies. The committee did ultimately vote to pass the bill 8-3 (Reps. King, Wheatly, and Cutler were the “nay” votes).
Both H.B. 12 and H.B. 205 will now be sent on the House Floor for vote. H.B. 12 will be up first early next week. Now is the time to reach out to your Representative in the House and ask them to vote for H.B. 12/Family Planning Services Amendments. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Find your House Rep by going to le.utah.gov clicking “My Legislators” and inputting your voting address.
2. Contact your House Rep and encourage them to vote in favor of H.B. 12 (Family Planning Services Amendments)–make sure to let them know that you are their constituent.
3. Make sure to make your email personal and share your own experience being able to access (or not) the birth control that you needed.