SALT LAKE CITY — A proposal to make it illegal to transfer fetal remains outside of Utah for any purpose other than burial got taken off the table Friday by the sponsor.
Under HB231, anyone who transports aborted or miscarried fetal remains across state lines, or who arranges to do so, could face a class B misdemeanor. The bill would not apply to fetuses less than 20 weeks gestational age.
“I became aware that aborted fetuses in Utah are shipped out of state, where of course Utah’s laws no longer apply. And so I wondered why they do that, and started looking into that. And it occurred to me that we could probably use a bill that would close that loophole,” bill sponsor Rep. Cheryl Acton, R-West Jordan has said.
But Acton decided to hold the bill at the request of Abortion-Free Utah just ahead of its scheduled Friday afternoon committee hearing, the organization announced.
The group asked her to hold the bill “as the language needed more work, and we were out of time and we felt it was better to do this right than to mess it up,” Abortion-Free Utah Chairwoman Merrileee Boyack said in a statement.
But Boyack praised Acton for her work on the issue.
Last year, Utah legislators passed a law that requires health care providers to take care of the final disposition of fetal remains to prevent them from being treated as medical waste. The law now requires providers to give women a form that asks how they want the remains taken care of, with the option of not selecting a method.
Acton’s bill as written would’ve created a contradiction in the state’s law as it does not delete existing language that allows a fetus or fetal tissue donated under the Revised Uniform Anatomical Gift Act to be transferred out of Utah. The bill that passed last year did not affect the disposition of fetal tissue used for genetic study.