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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Bills against partial-birth abortion and using state tax funds to pay for abortions will be back before the Legislature in the coming session.
Opponents say the bills are unnecessary as no partial-birth abortions are performed in Utah and no state tax money is used to pay for abortions.
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, has pre-filed the two bills for next month's Legislature and says they "use the exact same language" as two House bills that died on the Senate floor without a vote as the 2003 session ended.
At the August state Republican Party convention, three resolutions were introduced condemning GOP senators for not passing the bills. One called for the top Republican leadership, Senate President Al Mansell, R-Sandy; Majority Leader Mike Waddoups, R-Taylorsville; and Assistant Whip John Valentine, R-Orem, to be replaced.
No action was taken on the resolutions.
"Actually," says Bramble, "it was very disingenuous for those (GOP groups) to even introduce those resolutions" at the GOP convention condemning Republican senators. "Two days after the session ended, I met with those groups and told them that these bills would be reintroduced and taken care of."
The resolutions and subsequent complaints by fellow Republicans "were grandstanding -- an attempt for them to get publicity," said Bramble.
Don Guymon, sponsor of one of the resolutions, disagreed.
"We are disingenuous? Three out of the last four years the Senate has had similar (anti-abortion) bills before it and failed to act. Sen. Bramble said he would get these two bills before an interim committee (this summer) for a hearing -- yet no hearing was held on them. Now he promises action; but who is being disingenuous?"
Karrie Galloway, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Utah, said Bramble and others are the ones grandstanding by introducing the two bills again.
No "so-called partial-birth abortion" has been performed in Utah in recent memory, Galloway said. And no state tax dollars are, or have gone, to abortions, she said. Clinics that provide abortions to the poor are reimbursed with federal, not state, tax dollars, she said.
In any case, both issues in the bills are being dealt with in federal law, "which even applies in Utah," she said.
"The day after President Bush signed the federal partial-birth abortion bill, it was taken to court," she said. And that should end the Utah debate.
Bramble said that even if no partial-birth abortions are being done in Utah and even if no state moneys are used in abortions, the two bills "will prevent any of this from happening in Utah in the future. This is much more than just symbolic," although it is that, too, Bramble said.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)