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Herbert Wants Changes To Down Syndrome Abortion Bill To Avoid Courts

Pool Photo / Salt Lake Tribune

Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday he’s working with Utah lawmakers on a bill that would ban abortions of a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome. Legislative attorneys have flagged the bill, saying if it passes, it would likely face a legal challenge.

“The fact that it has a constitutional note should cause concern,” Herbert said.

He added that he’s “pro-life,” therefore “kind of anti-Roe v. Wade.”

“But I’m concerned about making sure that we follow laws that are constitutional,” he said.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, has so far passed the House.

It would make it a misdemeanor for a doctor to perform an abortion on a woman whose is seeking one because her fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Similar laws are already facing legal challenges in Louisiana, Indiana, and Ohio, where a lawsuit was filed Thursday.  

Lisonbee argues those types of abortions are a form of discrimination.

“It is a eugenic-like eradication that is happening with greater frequency worldwide, including, sadly, right here in Utah,” she said after unveiling the bill last month. 

Nicole Nixon holds a Communication degree from the University of Utah. She has worked on and off in the KUER Newsroom since 2013, when she first joined KUER as an intern. Nicole is a Utah native. Besides public radio, she is also passionate about beautiful landscapes and breakfast burritos.
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