roe v wade

With sights set on the Supreme Court overturning Roe, Arkansas and Utah pass 18-week abortion bans

This article originally appeared in the Daily Kos. Read it in its entirety here.

Another day, and another couple of state legislatures decide to pass abortion cut-offs that supporters know won’t pass constitutional muster unless the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. This time it was Utah and Arkansas lawmakers approving legislation to prohibit abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy. That’s well below the accepted period for fetal viability, or the period in which a fetus can survive outside the uterus. Medical experts put this between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation. The 18-week cut-off thus puts the bills in direct conflict with the 46-year-old Roe ruling. But for some advocates, that’s the specific intent.

The Utah Senate passed HB136 Wednesday on a party-line vote of 23-6. Last month, the Utah House passed the bill with a few Democrats on board. Soon after Senate passage, both the Planned Parenthood Action Council of Utah and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah promised the law would be headed for the courts if the governor signs it, as expected. 

Benjamin Wood reported that the Alliance for a Better Utah issued a statement saying the ban will mean taxpayers’ dollars will be “burned up in litigation” rather than provide health care and educational efforts to reduce abortions and miscarriages.

But litigation is exactly what at least some of the bill’s advocates desire: 

Supporters of HB136 have argued that advancement in medicine allow for children to survive birth at earlier stages. But the bill’s primary sponsor, West Jordan Republican Rep. Cheryl Acton, stated that her intention with the bill is not to establish a new viability standard, but to challenge the concept of fetal viability as the basis for a constitutional right.

This article originally appeared in the Daily Kos. Read it in its entirety here.

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