Lawmaker seeks to remove felony statute from Utah’s abortion trigger law

Jun 27, 2022, 6:00 PM
thousands turned out to demonstrate their opposition to the Supreme Court's ruling on Roe v. Wade...
Abortion-rights advocates march to the Capitol in protest of the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in Salt Lake City on Friday, June 24, 2022. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — After the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, Utah’s trigger law made abortion in Utah illegal, except under certain circumstances. State Democratic Rep. Angela Romero joined Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson to discuss what she is doing to remove the second-degree felony charge for a physician who performs a now unlawful abortion under the trigger law or SB174.

The Utah branch of Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit Saturday against SB174 and claimed that Utah’s Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s constitution grants Utahns more expansive rights than those given under federal law and that SB174 violated the Utah Constitution, according to Axios.

What is Utah’s abortion trigger law?

Under the state’s trigger law:

  • Victims of sexual assault may obtain abortions only if they have filed a police report, which eliminates the vast majority of victims.
  • Performing an abortion in nearly every case and at any stage in pregnancy is a second-degree felony.
  • A person convicted of violating the trigger law may face one to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both, according to The Washington Post.

Rape is the only violent crime in Utah that is higher than the national average.

Romero said her concern with the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade is for health-care workers who could face a felony charge now, the rape and incest victims who have to file a police report and for any woman, who for whatever reason, cannot complete her pregnancy.

“If they force people to carry out that pregnancy, how do we make sure that we’re providing the services and support they need just to survive?” Romero asked. “This has been a huge issue in Utah when you talk about health-care coverage and just extended Medicaid.”

“You talked about some of the poor communities and having that access [to abortion]. Are there discussions or conversations going on in terms of how do we make sure that we’re really protecting all people across the spectrum?” Boyd asked.

Eliminating police reports

Romero said Rep. Jennifer Dailey-Provost has filed a bill that would eliminate the requirement that rape and incest victims file a police report.

“I don’t know if that bill will be heard in committee. I don’t know how far that bill will go,” she said.

Romero also said she filed a bill that would remove the felony component of SB174.

“And again, I don’t know how far that bill will go, but I wanted people here in the state of Utah to know . . . not everyone in the state Legislature agreed with a Supreme Court ruling,” she said.


Temporary stay issued for Utah’s trigger law

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app. 

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Lawmaker seeks to remove felony statute from Utah’s abortion trigger law