It’s the end of week 4 of the Utah Legislative Session, which means we’ve passed the half-way point, and things are picking up steam! Be sure to keep an eye on our bill tracker for daily updates. A lot happened this week, so buckle up! (If you don’t have time to read everything, scroll down to the “TAKE ACTION” paragraph!)
First, let’s talk about the good stuff:
It was a big week for contraception! The two bills that will expand contraception access for Utahns both passed committee and floor votes in the Senate and are one step closer to helping thousands of Utahns be able to get or stay on birth control.
HB 102 – Contraception for Inmates (Sponsors: Jen Dailey-Provost, Luz Escamilla) is now tabled on the 3rd Reading Calendar in the Senate where it will probably camp out until later in the session when the budget is more final.
SB 128 – Family Planning Services Amendments (Sponsors: Derek Kitchen, Melissa Ballard) is also on the 3rd Reading Calendar awaiting another vote from the Senate. Then it will be sent to the House. We will keep you updated on its progress!
Now for the not good stuff:
HB 302, which is deceptively titled, Preserving Sports for Female Students, would ban transgender girls from being able to participate in sports from kindergarten through college. This bill was passed out of the House Education Committee and is now awaiting a floor vote in the House. Equality Utah has created a contact form so you can easily email your representative and ask them to VOTE NO on HB 302. Learn more about the bill and take action here.
Finally, we want to remind you that there are TWO bad anti-abortion bills on the docket this year. They have been hanging out in the House Rules Committee for a few weeks, but now that the Legislature has finished appropriations for the session, we expect to see these bills start moving and that the Legislature will try to rush them through.
HB 253 - Abortion Amendments
This bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Christiansen, would among other things, require that informed consent for abortions happen in person, prohibiting telehealth as an option and requiring two in person visits and make changes to the online module to include video images of fetal development, audio of fetal heartbeats, and photos and descriptions of abortion procedures.
Let’s be clear: this bill would do nothing to help or better inform patients seeking abortion care. It seeks to shame and stigmatize patients and would only make it harder for Utahns to get an abortion. Especially during a pandemic, people need more access to health care instead of having to navigate barriers that could increase exposure to COVID-19.
HB 231 – Fetus Transport Restrictions
This bill, sponsored by Rep. Cheryl Acton, would prohibit transporting fetal remains from abortions and miscarriages across state lines for any purpose other than burial. This would prohibit Planned Parenthood Association of Utah from sending fetal tissue to an out-of-state pathology lab.
This bill is a blatant and direct attack on Planned Parenthood and therefore an attempt to limit access to abortion in Utah. This bill is seeking to solve a problem that does not exist. It is a TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) bill that would only make it more difficult for health care providers like Planned Parenthood to offer abortion care and miscarriage management.
TAKE ACTION: Now is the time to start learning about these anti-abortion bills so you are ready when they start moving.
- Read our talking points linked above.
- Craft your story.
- Talk to your friends and family about these bills.
- Contact your legislators and let them know who you are and that the last thing Utah needs is another emotional debate about abortion when time and energy can be spent on policy that will help Utah families during this health and economic crisis.
Thank you for supporting reproductive freedom!