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Abortion ban to be considered by Utah legislative panel

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers are scheduled to hold their first discussion in committee on the topic of banning abortions with limited exceptions during a hearing Wednesday afternoon.

Members of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee will consider SB174, which would prohibit abortion except in cases of rape or incest; to prevent the death or “substantial impairment” of the woman if she gives birth; or if the fetus has a lethal birth defect or severe brain abnormality that would cause it to be in a vegetative state.

It would also make it a second-degree felony to perform an abortion that doesn’t meet one of those criteria.

Other bills of note in committee:

• Members of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee have scheduled a hearing on SB164, which would allow a county to levy a property tax for the purpose of providing social impact services, including creating programs to promote child and youth development, assist the homeless or battle intergenerational poverty.

• Members of the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee are scheduled to hear HB271, which would declare firearm regulation to be a state function, preventing cities or counties from imposing restrictions on weapons. HB109, requiring universal background checks for the purchase of a firearm, was also listed on the agenda.

• The Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee is considering SB165, which requires cities to develop an emergency action plan to respond to conditions that pose a risk to the health or safety of homeless individuals and families.

• Members of the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee will take up HCR21, a concurrent resolution recognizing the 50th anniversary of Earth Day which occurs on April 22. The resolution notes the growing significance of Earth Day around the world and in Utah and urges support for the goals of Earth Day to protect and sustain the unique and valuable environmental resources of Utah.