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S.B. 69 Partial Birth Abortion Follow-Up Letter

21 January 2004 Published in Legislative Work

Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement,

and Criminal Justice Committee
Utah State Capitol
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114

January 21, 2004

RE: S.B. 69 Partial Birth Abortion

Dear Committee Members,

During yesterday’s (January 20, 2004) Senate Judiciary Committee meeting, and following testimony by the ACLU of Utah, the committee asked for more information on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals case, Women’s Medical Professional Corp. v. Taft, 2003 U.S. App. LEXIS 25413, 2003 FED App. 0446P (6th Cir.). The Ohio bill varies from Utah’s draft Senate Bill 69 (1st Sub.) as follows.

The Ohio law differs from the ban proposed in S.B. 69 (1st Sub.), section 76-7-326, in two important respects. First, the Ohio ban includes an exception to preserve the health of the woman. In upholding Ohio’s law, the appeals court recognized that without an exception to protect women’s health, the ban would have been unconstitutional. The proposed ban on partial birth abortions in S.B. 69 lacks a health exception, stating only that the section does not apply “to a partial birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother . . . .” Additionally, contrary to suggestions yesterday, section 76-7-301(2) of S.B. 69 is not a health exception for the prohibition on partial birth abortion, but rather a definition of what constitutes a medical emergency.

Second, the definition of the conduct prohibited under the Ohio law differs significantly from the definition contained in the Utah bill. Unlike the Utah bill, the Ohio law includes an exception for the most common procedure used in the second trimester. Without such an exception, the Utah law prohibits a range of safe abortion procedures performed after the first trimester.

Respectfully,

Margaret Plane