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Utah legislator wants 'personhood' vote

Feb. 2, 2012 at 2:17 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- A freshman Utah legislator wants the state to define that life begins at conception.

Republican state Sen. Aaron Osmond told The Salt Lake Tribune he has not decided whether to seek an amendment to the state constitution. An alternative would be a resolution that would declare the view of the legislature but would not be binding.

"I really want to be careful with it because I recognize the sensitivity of this," Osmond said.

Since the 2010 elections when the Republicans won majorities in many states, legislation restricting abortion has been introduced across the country. In Mississippi, an attempt to amend the state constitution to declare a fetus a legal person failed with 55 percent of voters opposing it.

Opponents of personhood legislation say such laws would not only ban abortion if the Supreme Court reverses the Roe v. Wade ruling but many forms of birth control. In theory, women who have miscarriages might be charged with homicide if doctors find they did anything to harm the fetus.

"If we're talking about a sense of the Legislature with a resolution, I know the sense of the Legislature and I won't be surprised," said Karrie Galloway, head of Planned Parenthood of Utah. "But if they are considering changing the constitution of the state of Utah, which will impact a whole lot more than abortion, it will impact contraception, in-vitro fertilization, it will impact the lives of so many people, which is the reason one of these things has never passed."

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