POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

A Utah lawmaker and her sister at odds: Should rape victims need to contact police before getting an abortion?

Feb 3, 2023, 2:27 PM | Updated: 3:09 pm

Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, sponsor of HB297 Victim Services Amendments, poses for a portrait at...

Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, sponsor of HB297 Victim Services Amendments, poses for a portrait at the Capitol in Salt Lake City, on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2023. (Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Both sisters had tears in their eyes.

Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan, sat in her office at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City.

On the other side of the Salt Lake Valley, her younger sister by 10 years, Samantha Hansen, sat in the kitchen of her Herriman home.

Some 40 miles separated the two while they spoke individually to the Deseret News on Thursday — but their vast differences over an issue that hits far too close to home for their family is immeasurable.

 

The issue? Abortion access and services for rape victims in Utah — an issue that’s slated to heat up in coming days and weeks on Utah’s Capitol Hill as a bill proposed by Birkeland, along with a slate of other abortion-related bills, make their way through the Utah Legislature.

Birkeland insists her bill is more about expanding services to rape victims and holding rapists accountable than it is about restricting abortion.

“It doesn’t force women to do anything,” Birkeland said. “It provides resources to women, and it really does seek to hold the perpetrators accountable.”

But her sister — who has for years publicly shared her sexual assault story of how she was drugged and raped in 2014 — disagrees.

“It is absolutely cruel to rape survivors,” Hansen, 30, said. “It is not going to accomplish what my sister claims she wants it to accomplish.”

Read the full story on the Deseret News.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Politics + Government

President Joe Biden speaks following the news of the assassination attempt on former president Dona...

Emma Keddington

‘It’s time to cool it down,’ says Biden in the wake of campaign rally shooting

President Biden affirmed that America must never go down a road of violence in an address to the American people.

2 hours ago

Audience members duck in the crowd during a shooting attempt at a campaign rally for Republican pre...

Kennedy Camarena

Name of man killed in Butler, Pennsylvania campaign rally released

The Pennsylvania governor has released the name of the man who was killed in the Butler, Pennsylvania campaign rally on Saturday.

8 hours ago

The FBI has identified a suspect in the shooting that occurred at a campaign rally. Republican pres...

Kennedy Camarena

FBI identifies gunman involved in apparent assassination attempt of former President Trump

The FBI has identified the gunman who was involved with the apparent assassination attempt of former President Donald Trump.

11 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate, former U.S. President Donald Trump is whisked away by Secret Ser...

Simone Seikaly

PHOTOS: Shots fired at Trump rally, former president injured, spectator killed

Former President Donald Trump was injured by shots that were fired toward a campaign rally stage in Butler, Pa, on Saturday.

12 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surround by U.S. Secret Service ...

Kyle Remund

Former President Trump issues statement after assassination attempt.

After surviving an assassination attempt, Former President Donald Trump has now issued a statement about the attack.

1 day ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is helped off the stage at a campai...

Kyle Remund

Utah leaders respond to shooting at Trump rally

After multiple gunshots were repoertedly fired at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania, Utah and national leaders spoke up about the attack.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

A Utah lawmaker and her sister at odds: Should rape victims need to contact police before getting an abortion?