Commentary: Parents deserve support, not abortion bans

The state should not play a role in making private health care decisions about a woman’s pregnancy.

FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2018, file photo, Republican Rep. Karianne Lisonbee of Clearfield speaks during a news conference at the Utah Capitol in Salt Lake City. Utah's House of Representatives has passed legislation barring abortions sought because a fetus has been diagnosed with Down syndrome. Bill sponsor Lisonbee says abortions based on a diagnosis of Down syndrome are "a eugenic-like eradication" of an entire group of people. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Here in Utah, when a woman decides to end her pregnancy, she can come to Planned Parenthood for quality health care. All patients who walk through our doors are offered support, compassion and information so that they can make the best decision for them.

We take this work seriously and do all we can to offer unbiased, nonjudgmental care. We do this because we believe that every woman deserves to have access to comprehensive reproductive health care — and that includes abortion services. We believe women can be trusted to make decisions for themselves in consultation with their family, their faith and their health care provider.

Likewise, when a woman is faced with a diagnosis of a fetal anomaly, we want her to receive all the information and support she needs to understand her options and decide what is best for her and her family.

That is why we strongly oppose the abortion ban in HB205, a bill that would ban abortions that are sought because a fetus has, or may have, Down syndrome. The state should not play a role in making private health care decisions about a woman’s pregnancy.

The Supreme Court has made it clear that the right to an abortion before viability — for any reason — is protected under the Constitution. Federal courts in other states have already found abortion bans similar to HB205 unconstitutional.

For proponents of the abortion ban who say, “If there is a lawsuit,” there is no question. The abortion ban in HB205 will be challenged in court.

If our legislators want to support and help Utahns with disabilities, they should spend their time and our tax dollars making sure parents faced with a diagnosis of Down syndrome have access to support and information. They should fund the state programs, such as the Division of Services for People with Disabilities, that provide much-needed assistance to people and families in Utah.

Planned Parenthood can’t speak for parents of children with disabilities, but it is our role to advocate for women to receive the care they need, and to guarantee the right to privacy when making reproductive health care decisions.

We urge our Utah senators to vote no on HB205 as it now stands. We ask them to remove the abortion ban and instead spend the state’s resources making sure Utah families are getting the help and resources they need.

| Tribune File Photo Karrie Galloway from Planned Parenthood challanges Sen Curtis Bramble's Partial Birth Abortion Bill (SB69) at a committee meeting Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2004.

Karrie Galloway is the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. She lives in Salt Lake City.