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Utah Legislature passes elective abortion ban but mandatory ultrasound bill stalls in House

This article originally appeared in the Deseret News. Read it in its entirety here.

SALT LAKE CITY — Several minutes after it was brought to the floor for final approval of Senate amendments, a bill requiring doctors to show a woman her ultrasound before performing an abortion was put on hold in the House.

Sponsor Rep. Steve Christiansen, R-West Jordan, told the Deseret News that it is “unlikely” HB364 will be heard before the session ends at midnight, meaning it is dead until next session.

Christiansen said he’s learned a great deal as a freshman legislator that will benefit him as he continues to “fight for life.”

“There is still a significant need for women who are contemplating an abortion to have better and more relevant information for their critical decision,” Christiansen said. “To the extent that improved information helps avoid an abortion, a life will have been saved and the risks to a woman’s health from abortion will have been averted.”

HB364 would require a medical provider to describe or show the images produced in the ultrasound to a woman before she receives an abortion and, if possible, amplify the fetal heartbeat so it is audible. The woman could look away or ask to have the sound turned down if she wished.

Rep. Lee Perry, R-Weber County, made the motion to hold the bill, saying there are concerns in the body. It passed 41-32.

Senate passage of the bill spurred all of the women in the Senate — Republican and Democrat — to walk out as their names were called to vote Tuesday, refusing to cast their vote on the legislation. Before the vote, Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork, amended the bill to ban transvaginal ultrasounds, which she described as “incredibly invasive.”

Thursday evening, Alliance for a Better Utah policy director Lauren Simpson told the Deseret News the bill would have mandated an “incredibly invasive and unnecessary procedure, the goal of which was to shame a woman for a decision she made.”

“We are appreciative to the lawmakers who realized this was a step too far and did what needed to be done to stop it from becoming law,” she said.

This article originally appeared in the Deseret News. Read it in its entirety here.

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