By Dave Andrusko
Utah’s pro-life Gov. Spencer Cox has signed HB 467 which had overwhelming support in both houses of the legislature. HB 467 “requires all abortion procedures, whether through surgery or medication, to be performed by hospitals,” Cami Mondeaux reported. “The legislation discontinue abortion clinic licensing for new centers after May 2 and block clinics from operating once their current licenses expire.”
Along with banning abortion facilities, “the bill also requires doctors to provide information about perinatal hospice and palliative care to pregnant mothers whose unborn babies are diagnosed with a fatal condition,” Micaiah Bilger reports. Cox, “a pro-life Republican, signed the pro-life law, along with dozens of others, after the state legislature passed it by an overwhelming majority earlier this month.”
The Utah Hospital Association “said no hospitals provided elective abortions in the state last year,” according to the Associated Press. “It declined to answer questions about whether plans were in place to accommodate additional patients likely to seek care if clinics close.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs “triggered two abortion bans in Utah, one that was passed in 2019 that banned the procedure after 18 weeks and another passed in 2020 that banned abortions in all cases with some exceptions,” Mondeaux explained. “However, the state’s Planned Parenthood branch sued over the 2020 abortion law, prompting a state court to delay it from taking effect until legal challenges are sorted out.” Until the state Supreme Court renders a decision, abortion is limited to the first 18 weeks.
Jason Stevenson, the lobbyist for the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah said “the organization would now further examine the wording, implications and whether other provisions of the bill allowed clinics to apply for a new kind of license to perform hospital-equivalent services.”
Rep. Karianne Lisonbee sponsored HB 467. In February 15 testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Lisonbee said, “In Utah, we deeply value human life in all stages and in all circumstances. It’s the state’s responsibility to protect the most vulnerable (including) the unborn.” She added, “At the same time, we have worked closely with area hospitals and doctors to ensure that our statute strikes the very best balance of protecting innocent life and protecting women.”
Planned Parenthood, of course, harshly criticized the bill. “HB467 prohibits the new licensing of abortion clinics starting May 3, and forces any clinic to stop providing abortions when their existing license expires,” said Stevenson. “However, the hospital-only restriction of this bill would stop these clinics from providing abortions anyway on May 3.”