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Gov. Herbert Weighs In On Censuring Romney, Abortion Ban Bill And The Coronavirus

Screengrab from video of Gary Herbert speaking at a podium
PBS Utah video screengrab
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert at his monthly news conference Thursday discussed the effort to censure Sen. Mitt Romney, a bill to ban certain abortions and how the state's preparing to fight coronavirus.

At his monthly press conference, Gov. Gary Herbert weighed in on several high-profile issues facing Utah and the state Legislature, from censuring Sen. Mitt Romney to the state’s response to the coronavirus. 

Should The Utah GOP Censure Sen. Romney?

Herbert said he plans to vote “no” this weekend on a censure of Sen. Mitt Romney from the state’s Republican Party Central Committee. 

Romney was the only Republican to break from his party and vote to convict President Donald Trump on one of two articles of impeachment. 

“We need to be very careful about censuring somebody's opinion,” Herbert said. “And certainly somebody who I think has demonstrated at least the willingness to think deeply and analyze all sides of an issue.”

The state Legislature was considering a censure as well, but opted for a citation commending Trump instead. 

Elective Abortion Ban Bill

The state Legislature is considering a bill that would ban elective abortions at all stages of pregnancy, if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. It would allow abortions in cases of rape, incest, if the mother’s life is at risk or if the fetus has a lethal defect.

Herbert said he was pro-life and supportive of limiting elective abortions, but felt that the bill was possibly “premature.”

“It may be kind of a feel good message bill with really not anything happening to it as far as real results,” he said. 

The bill passed a state Senate committee Wednesday and is awaiting consideration on the Senate floor. 

Utah And The Coronavirus

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Utah, but Herbert emphasized that the state is prepared for the worst while hoping for the best. 

“Our Department of Health has a surveillance system where we coordinate with our different local health departments throughout the state of Utah,” Herbert said. “We're in contact every day and a half.”

Herbert added that he thought President Donald Trump was downplaying the issue. 

“I'm not relying on Washington, DC,” Herbert said. “I'm relying on our people here in the state.”

Sonja Hutson covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson

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