Ahead of Friday’s March for Life, Utah senators back anti-abortion legislation

Bills would restrict abortion pills, ban taxpayer-funded abortion and ban abortion of fetuses after 20 weeks.

(Evan Vucci | AP file photo) Supporters cheer as then-President Donald Trump speaks during the annual "March for Life" rally on the National Mall on Jan. 24, 2020. Sen. Mike Lee and Mitt Romney helped reintroduce anti-abortion legislation ahead of this week's March for Life.

Ahead of Friday’s annual March for Life — marking the anniversary of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that allowed elective abortion — Utah’s senators helped to reintroduce anti-abortion legislation.

Sen. Mike Lee was among sponsors of legislation to restrict chemical abortion drugs and a bill to ban permanently taxpayer-funded abortions. Sen. Mitt Romney helped reintroduce a bill to ban abortion of fetuses 20 weeks after fertilization. While some studies suggest a fetus may experience pain after that juncture, others suggest otherwise.

Lee joined Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., and Rep. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, to reintroduce the Support and Value Expectant (SAVE) Moms and Babies Act.

It would prevent labeling changes for already-approved abortion drugs; prevent providers from dispensing these drugs remotely, by mail, or via tele-medicine; and prevent the Food and Drug Administration from approving new chemical abortion drugs.

“The chemical concoctions found in abortion drugs pose severe risks to women, not to mention unborn babies,” Lee said. “The standards of care surrounding them are reckless and harmful; in fact, they are unacceptable. The last thing we should be doing is making them even worse.”

(Medical professionals say the drugs are safe and effective.)

“We must do everything we can to protect and defend those who cannot do so themselves,” Latta said. “In order to protect the sanctity of life, it is necessary to ensure our laws are protecting mothers, babies, and unborn children.

That bill is co-sponsored by 31 GOP senators and 72 House Republicans, including Utah Rep. John Curtis.

Lee also co-sponsored the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act reintroduced by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., seeking to impose a permanent ban on taxpayer-funded abortions.

“The government should not endorse, nor should taxpayers subsidize, a practice that kills hundreds of thousands of unborn children each year,” Lee said. “This bill would thankfully end that, and would help us move towards a culture of life upheld in our laws and through our taxpayer dollars.”

(The so-called Hyde Amendment has since 1977 banned federal funding of abortions save in cases of endangerment of the mother’s life, rape or incest.)

Romney was among a group of 40 GOP senators led by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., that reintroduced the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortion of fetuses 20 weeks after fertilization, a point which some studies say a fetus may feel pain.

“We must enact policies that protect the lives of our children, both born and unborn,” Romney said. “I am proud to join my colleagues in reintroducing this legislation to prohibit abortions at 20 weeks, the point at which scientific evidence suggests an unborn child is able to feel pain.”

Graham said, “There are only seven countries that allow wholesale abortions at the 20-week period, including China and North Korea. The United States should not be in that club.”

Reintroduction of that legislation comes just before groups opposed to abortion stage their annual March for Life on Friday. Usually protesters march in Washington, D.C.. But because of the pandemic, the march this year will consist of virtual events.