Gov. Spencer Cox, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson say they ‘wholeheartedly support’ Supreme Court decision denying Utah women abortion rights

Utah State Capitol, Salt Lake City. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, June 24, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson have released a prepared statement in support of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-to-3 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, stripping American women of the right to access safe and legal abortion services.

“This administration has been dedicated to giving a voice to the most vulnerable in our society, including the unborn,” the statement said.

“We wholeheartedly support this Supreme Court ruling and are encouraged to see the abortion law will be left to elected state representatives. As pro-life advocates, this administration is equally committed to supporting women and families in Utah.

“We all need to do more to support mothers, pregnant women, and children facing poverty and trauma,” the statement said.

The Supreme Court’s decision triggers Utah’s previously passed SB-174, the Abortion Prohibition Amendments law.

Under SB-174, which was passed in 2020, abortions are prohibited “at any stage of a pregnant woman’s pregnancy, except under certain circumstances” as outlined in the bill below.

76-7a-201. Abortion prohibition — Exceptions — Penalties.
87          (1) An abortion may be performed in this state only under the following circumstances:
88          (a) the abortion is necessary to avert:
89          (i) the death of the woman on whom the abortion is performed; or
90          (ii) a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function
91     of the woman on whom the abortion is performed;
92          (b) two physicians who practice maternal fetal medicine concur, in writing, in the
93     patient’s medical record that the fetus:
94          (i) has a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal; or
95          (ii) has a severe brain abnormality that is uniformly diagnosable; or
96          (c) (i) the woman is pregnant as a result of:
97          (A) rape;
98          (B) rape of a child; or
99          (C) incest; and
100          (ii) before the abortion is performed, the physician who performs the abortion:
101          (A) verifies that the incident described in Subsection (1)(c)(i) has been reported to law
102     enforcement; and
103          (B) if applicable, complies with requirements related to reporting suspicions of or
104     known child abuse.
105          (2) An abortion may be performed only:
106          (a) by a physician; and
107          (b) in an abortion clinic or a hospital, unless it is necessary to perform the abortion in
108     another location due to a medical emergency.
109          (3) A person who performs an abortion in violation of this section is guilty of a second
110     degree felony.
111          (4) In addition to the penalty described in Subsection (3), the department may take
112     appropriate corrective action against an abortion clinic, including revoking the abortion clinic’s
113     license, if a violation of this chapter occurs at the abortion clinic.

114          (5) The department shall report a physician’s violation of any provision of this section
115     to the state entity that regulates the licensing of a physician.

Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes released a statement Friday saying his office was ready to defend SB-174 against any prospective legal action.

“The Supreme Court pronouncement is clear,” Reyes’ statement said. “It has returned the question of abortion to the states. And the Utah legislature has answered that question. My office will do its duty to defend the state law against any and all potential legal challenges.”

The Utah House Democratic Caucus weighed in on Roe’s reversal, taking the high court to task for overturning what had been deemed the law of the land for nearly 50 years.

“Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision marks a devastating and disheartening assault on the dignity and autonomy of Americans everywhere,” the Utah House Democrats said. “The high court’s ruling sets a dangerous precedent by stepping beyond the case before them and undermining basic reproductive rights for women that the majority of Americans have long supported and agreed was settled law.”


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