House members debated the virtues of mounting the fight and declaring Utah's principles to the world. But they opted instead for a "trigger" that, in effect, lets other states take the lead in a legal battle that promises to cost millions of dollars to deliver an uncertain outcome.
"It is important for us not only to choose the fight but to choose the timing," said Rep. Kay McIff, R-Richfield.
Rep. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, sponsored the measure that restored the "trigger" originally contained in Rep. Paul Ray's bill to outlaw abortion. In a House committee, members had taken out the trigger portion in order to spark a U.S. Supreme Court case they hoped would overturn Roe v. Wade, the 34-year-old decision that gives women a constitutional right to choose abortion.
Ray, a Clearfield Republican, noted that 11 states are considering abortion law changes this year. Three besides Utah - Virginia, West Virginia and Mississippi - are considering a full ban. And three others are considering bans with triggers, including North Dakota, Colorado and Texas.
Some estimates were that the cost of mounting a Supreme Court challenge might reach $8 million.
What's next: Senate consideration.