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Abortion Debate Turns Emotional

Abortion Debate Turns Emotional

Posted - Feb. 5, 2004 at 4:32 p.m.



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Kimberly Houk ReportingConservative lawmakers continue their full-scale assault today on abortion, despite warnings that they are tilting at windmills and will likely fail in the courts.

The abortion debate is turning heated, and emotional. Proponents have discussed banning abortions even in the case of incest, rape, and the severe deformity of the fetus. And now a bill before the House sets out severe financial penalties for any medical professional, or clinic, that allows elective abortion to be performed.

One of the medical clinics that stands to lose a lot of state money is the Utah Women's Clinic. They perform a lot of elective abortions there, but that may soon end if Senate Bill 68 passes.

Galloway: “It has been the intent of all of the sponsors to say they would overturn Roe vs. Wade if they could, but they can't. So they're doing what they can to eliminate abortion."

And they are proposing a restriction of state funds to any health facility that performs elective abortions. Meaning, if a hospital or independent doctor's office performs an abortion on a woman who pays for the procedure out of her own pocket, that facility would be stripped of all state money and even federal money from Medicaid, which is also controlled by the state--funds that every medical facility in the state rely on.

Rep. Morgan Philpot, (R) Midvale: “The battle to really protect a child's right to life is really going to take place within the intricacies of the law. And in order to try and help in that battle, one of the greatest places we can target is funding."

Representative Philpot is sponsoring this bill that is now being debated on the House floor. The bill does allow for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or the mother's life is in danger. But things got heated when Senator Stephan Clark of Provo stood up and asked why there was an exception for rape.

Clark says he does agree with the exception. He just wanted to debate why abortion is ok in one case and not in another.

Filpot: “I think that's why you get the emotion, because some feel that the right of the woman to choose, even in cases where financial burden may be an issue, outweighs a child's right to life."

What about abortions in cases where the fetus is severely deformed? An amendment to this bill would have made it okay in such cases, but that amendment was defeated. So even in cases where the fetus may have serious disabilities, using state funds to abort the fetus would not be permitted.

Another anti-abortion measure would ban partial-birth abortions in Utah, and most Utahns strongly agree.

An exclusive poll for Eyewitness News by Survey USA shows that three out of four Utahns, 75 percent, agree such procedures should be illegal. 17 percent think they should be legal, while 8 percent aren't sure.

That measure is still being debated on Capitol Hill.

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