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There is only one way Utah pro-choice supporters can maximize their chances of defeating more restrictive abortion legislation in January - by convincing legislators that economic development and abortion legislation are inextricably linked.

That's the message Utah members of the National Organization of Women (NOW) heard Saturday, during their annual state conference at the Salt Lake County Government Center.Sen. Francis Farley, D-Salt Lake, gave about 50 participants some specific advice on how they can effectively lobby members of the traditionally conservative Utah Legislature.

"I suggest that you stay away from the ideological and arguments that are so often associated with it. The more down-to-earth issues of practicality will be more persuasive," she counseled.

She suggested that pro-choice advocates emphasize the potential economic impact of more restrictive abortion legislation. "I know the leadership of our state understands that it is very important to appeal to women" in their efforts to attract new business and industry to Utah. She said the state Office of Economic Development's latest videotape touting the advantages of doing business in Utah includes comments from five business owners - two of them women.

"That is a very good sign - one that shows our state leaders are anxious to attract businesses." They understand that many executives - male and female - get input on their decisions about where to locate from the women around them. Farley said that avoiding more restrictive abortion laws "is a very important position the state must take if we want to bring new business in here.

"I would also think the Olympics people would be concerned about this, too. I don't think they want to send a message to female athletes that this state restricts women's rights," Farley said.

"These arguments are much more persuasive than the emotional positions we so often hear. I wish you well in your efforts to preserve privacy and choice for the women of Utah."

Farley also said that if NOW members are "serious about a lobbying effort, you make sure someone is there to look after your interests all the time." Farley joined Patricia Ireland, national executive vice president of NOW, in urging women to continue pressuring lawmakers to defeat more restrictive legislation.

People across the country are becoming active in the fight to preserve abortion rights as a result of last summer's Supreme Court decision, which opened the door for states to enact more restrictive legislation, Ireland said.

"It's been the most mobilizing event that we've seen for decades in this country. We're gaining great new activists, new money and new energy. Even so, we can't ignore the brush fires (of anti-abortion movements) in the states."

Ireland applauded the activism that has spread into Utah - NOW has increased its membership here by 33 percent since July. "In the past we've had a large contingent of armchair support. But many of those supporters are now becoming committed political activists."

She encouraged continued vigilance in the face of Utah conservatism. "If we can do it here, we can do it anywhere . . . Help is on the way - the cavalry is coming."