Week One of the 2019 Utah Legislative Session
Utah’s 2019 Legislative Session has officially begun.
Two bills attempting to restrict abortion access in Utah have been introduced. House Bill 136 aims to ban abortions after 15 weeks and House Bill 166 is also attempting to curtail abortion access in Utah. We are waiting to see what happens with both of these bills, but no matter what, we will continue to demand access to abortion with fewer barriers and restrictions. State laws currently in place, “informed consent” (which is designed to dissuade a person from having an abortion) and the subsequent 72-hour waiting period, already impede access to safe, legal abortion. The impact of all these current and proposed laws make it more difficult for people to get the care they need and increase the economic, emotional, and physical burdens on patients.
This past Monday, Planned Parenthood of Utah joined hundreds of people to rally against repeal on the first day of the legislative session. The Utah Senate has already moved forward with Senate Bill 96, a partial Medicaid expansion that would be costlier in the short-term for a smaller pool of beneficiaries than the voter-approved Proposition 3. As Stacy Stanford of Utah Health Policy Project has said, “S.B. 96 is a repeal bill. We should not agree to pay three times more while we have the 90% federal match rate available already under Prop 3.” We will join others in continuing to demand that full Medicaid expansion goes into effect in April 2019 and provides health insurance to the working poor in Utah.
H.B. 136 and H.B. 166 will both likely be discussed in the House Judiciary Committee next week. H.B. 136 is an unconstitutional ban on abortion and passage of it will result in a costly lawsuit for the State and taxpayers. Stay tuned for updates about H.B. 166. Sign up to join the HIVE as a Planned Parenthood Ambassador here and you will receive action alerts and we will let you know when to contact your representatives about these bills.
Check out the bill tracker here.