A Utah Republican introduced a bill in the state legislature that would close all abortion clinics in the state by 2024 and only allow hospitals to perform abortions.
House Bill 467, introduced by Rep. Karianne Lisonbee (R-Clearfield), would stop the licensing of abortion clinics in May and “ban the operation of all abortion clinics starting in January 2024,” The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Tuesday.
Lisonbee proposed the bill as the state’s near-total abortion ban faces legal challenges from pro-abortion advocates. The bill would also make it a criminal offense for anyone other than doctors licensed in Utah to prescribe abortion pills.
“This bill does not affect the ongoing court case,” Rep. Lisonbee said in a text message to the Salt Lake Tribune. “While we anxiously await the court’s ruling, we are proposing these changes because it is the state’s responsibility to protect the most vulnerable, and that includes the unborn. We have worked closely with area doctors and hospitals to ensure that our statute strikes the best balance in protecting innocent life and protecting women who experience rare and dangerous complications during pregnancy.”
Planned Parenthood Association of Utah CEO Karrie Galloway told FOX 13 News it has eight clinics across Utah and accused Republicans of trying to “turn[s] back the clock.” She said:
By restricting where, how and when Utahns can access essential health care, this bill turns back the clock, making abortion prohibitively difficult to access and pregnancy and childbirth much more dangerous for Utah families. It is more proof that some politicians won’t stop until every aspect of reproductive health is micro-managed by people who don’t care about or understand these complex and personal medical issues. How many times must Utah politicians prove to the world they are anti-abortion extremists who want to control our lives, bodies, and futures? And at what cost to our state’s health care system and reputation?
According to the Salt Lake Tribune, two clinics in Utah perform surgical abortions and four offer abortion pills.