Raymond A. Hult: Utah law should not criminalize abortion

Mostly male legislators should not take the decision away from a woman.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Danae Shanidiin makes the opening remarks as protesters gather at the Utah Capitol for a “Bans Off Our Beehive” rally in support of abortion rights on Saturday, May 14, 2022.

The results of a Pew Research Survey of 11,044 Americans, released on May 6, found 61% of respondents declared abortion should be legal in most cases. White evangelicals composed a large segment of the remaining 39% favoring repeal.

Assuming Roe v. Wade will be overturned by the alt-right-dominated Supreme Court this summer, many Republican-dominated state legislatures (Utah included) have anti-abortion trigger laws set to immediately take effect.

Utah’s Senate Bill 174, passed in 2020, criminalizes “the intentional termination or attempted termination of human pregnancy after implantation of a fertilized ovum through a medical procedure carried out by a physician or through a substance used under the direction of a physician.” Exemptions include rape, incest and the health of the mother.

Previously, a similar trigger law, 2019′s House Bill 136, was more reasonable outlawing abortion after 18 weeks.

Anti-abortion advocates argue mothers should relinquish control of their bodies when it comes to pregnancy. That’s because they have created a human being who deserves outside protection no matter a mother’s desire otherwise.

Arguing the issue should instead be limited to a determination of when a human being is formed. Before that, the fetus is only a potential human being. Destroying a potential human doesn’t equate.

Unfertilized sperm and ovum cells represent potential human beings. At four weeks after conception, the newly implanted embryo represents a potential human being about .04 inches long, the size of a poppy seed. That’s far removed from being considered a viable human being deserving outside protective interference.

The size grows to 1.22 in. at 10 weeks, 1.61 inches at 11 weeks and 2.3 inches at 12 weeks. The ability to live outside the womb (viability) is estimated to be over 20 weeks.

Utah SB174 outlaws the abortion of potential human beings, far removed from becoming viable human beings worthy of any outside political/religious interference.

It’s been all too comfortable for mostly male legislators to exhibit their sanctimonious pomposity when it comes to a women’s body. Men, who have never suffered through morning sickness, carrying a baby for nine months, economic instabilities and all the other myriad complications associated with childbirth.

An abortion, performed early enough, of a potential human-being should be a women’s sole reproductive prerogative. Self-righteous legislators have no business sticking their noses in where they don’t belong.

Raymond A. Hult, Bountiful, is a retired FBI special agent

Raymond A. Hult, Bountiful, has been personally involved in consultation with a tenuous but appropriate option resulting in a successful early abortion.