Utah House to consider bill to ban abortions based on Down syndrome

SALT LAKE CITY – A controversial anti-abortion bill is one step closer to becoming state law after it passed through the Judiciary Committee to the House floor by a 7-3 vote.

The bill introduced by Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, would prevent a doctor from performing an abortion if the doctor has knowledge a woman is seeking the procedure because the unborn child is diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Before the committee voted on the moving the bill, people on both sides of the aisle voiced their opinions.

“They have a right to be born as they are. To teach us how to love, accept, tolerate and not discriminate others for being different,” said one woman who has a child with Down syndrome.

Rep. Lisonbee introduced the bill because she believes these types of abortions are a form of discrimination. Those opposed believe it violates the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade protecting a woman’s right to have an abortion and will face challenges in the courts if it becomes law.

“I am adamantly opposed to this bill,” one woman said to the committee. “The legislature has no right in my living room or my doctor’s office.”

Ohio, Louisiana, North Dakota and Indiana have passed similar bills. The law in Indiana was struck down by a judge. That decision is now facing an appeal.

“Make no mistake,” said one woman who opposes the bill. “There will be legal action here if the state of Utah chooses to go down this path.”