SALT LAKE CITY (LifeSiteNews) — Utah’s Republican Gov. Spencer Cox has signed legislation that will prohibit abortion centers from operating in the state, restricting abortions to be committed in hospitals alone.
HB 467 was signed on Wednesday and is set to go into effect on May 2, 2023. While abortion is not completely banned through the bill, the murder of the unborn — through drugs and surgery — will be restricted to hospitals, effectively closing facilities that exist for the sole purpose of committing abortions.
The law “prohibits licensing of abortion clinics after May 2, 2023,” “removes certain references to abortion clinics,” and “provides that inducing or performing [sic] and abortion contrary to statutory requirements is unprofessional conduct for a physician, osteopathic physician, physician assistant, advanced practice registered nurse, certified nurse midwife, and direct-entry midwife.”
“An abortion may be performed [sic] in this state only by a physician,” the law continues. An unborn baby may only be killed if he or she “has not reached 18 weeks gestational age” and “[if] the abortion is necessary to avert the death of the woman … or a serious physical risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.” Prior to 18 weeks, abortion by a licensed medical doctor is also permitted if “two physicians who practice maternal fetal medicine concur, in writing, in the patient’s medical record that the fetus has a fetal abnormality that in the physicians’ reasonable medical judgment is incompatible with life.”
However, should a baby be diagnosed with a fatal abnormality before birth, “the physician shall inform the woman, both verbally and in writing, that perinatal hospice and perinatal palliative care services are available and are an alternative to abortion.”
Mothers who conceive as a result of rape or incest and minors under the age of 14 are also granted permission to abort, with the same regulations. In cases of rape and incest, the physician committing the abortion must verify that the incident is reported to law enforcement before taking any action against the unborn baby.
Abortion pills are also required to be dispensed by physicians in accordance with the rules laid out in the law, which “creates a criminal offense for prescribing a drug for the purpose of causing an abortion, unless the prescriber is licensed as a physician under the laws of this state.”
In 2020, Utah’s former Republican governor Gary Herbert signed a trigger law to ban most abortions, classifying elective abortion as a second-class felony with exceptions for cases of rape, incest, and alleged threats to the mother’s life. When Roe v. Wade was overturned two years later, a judge issued a restraining order in response to a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in an attempt to continue killing babies.
A week later, the judge announced that implementation of the law would remain paused throughout litigation.
HB 467 was introduced, passed, and signed by Gov. Cox in the state’s 2023 general session.
After the historic Dobbs ruling, Gov. Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson released a statement in support of the pro-life decision, saying that they “wholeheartedly support this Supreme Court ruling and are encouraged to see 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,” the statement added.
While Cox has backed pro-life legislation related to abortion, he has been less supportive of efforts to counter the attacks of the LGBT agenda in his state. Last March, the governor vetoed a bill designed to prevent gender-confused males from competing against females in school athletics. As previously reported by LifeSiteNews, the state legislature overrode the veto, making Utah the 12th state to enact such legislation.
Questions arose about the governor’s motivations regarding gender ideology when a video circulated of him stating his “preferred pronouns” during a student town hall that took place in 2021. Contrary to Cox’s open support of the LGBT agenda, he signed a bill in January that bans gender-confused minors from procuring mutilating surgeries and restricts their access to cross-sex hormones and puberty blockers.
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