Utah Republicans Propose Dropping ‘Life-of-the-Mother’ Exception to Abortion Bans

Translation: Every zygote, embryo, and fetus has a fundamental right to life, but the pregnant person does not.

AbortionPolitics
Utah Republicans Propose Dropping ‘Life-of-the-Mother’ Exception to Abortion Bans
Photo:Keith Brofsky (Getty Images)

If forced-birth policies were a sick game of poker, Utah Republicans have seen other states removing rape and incest exceptions to abortion bans and would like to raise them the removal of life exceptions.

This weekend, the Utah GOP will vote at its state convention on whether to amend the party’s “Right to Life” plank to oppose abortion in all circumstances—no matter if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or if the pregnancy threatens the health or life of the pregnant person. The proposal would literally remove those exceptions and replace it with the words: “and encourage adoption.” Translation: Every zygote, embryo, and fetus has a fundamental right to life, but the pregnant person does not.

This position would be even more conservative than that of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, per The Salt Lake Tribune. So, Utah Republicans may move to the right of the Mormon church.

The proposal’s sponsor, Weber County Republican Delegate Bob McEntee, told the Tribune, wrongly, that adoption is the solution. “I want people to understand that there’s a long line of people that want to adopt a baby,” McEntee said. “However hard it might be if they get through that pregnancy and give that child up for adoption, I think that would be a better solution.”

Adoption is an alternative to parenting, but it is not an alternative to pregnancy. Some of the difficult pregnancies and deliveries to which McEntee nonchalantly refers will result in miscarriage or stillbirth, or permanent health problems or the death of a living, breathing person. But anything for the possibility that the pregnancy will produce a baby that (mostly white, wealthy, hetero) couples can adopt, right?

The current platform reads (emphasis mine):

RIGHT TO LIFE
We believe in the right to life for both the born and unborn. We strongly oppose abortion, except to preserve the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest. We believe the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We believe all human life is sacred regardless of age or infirmity and we oppose abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the public funding of any of these abhorrent practices.

The proposal reads (emphasis mine):

RIGHT TO LIFE
We believe in the right to life for both the born and unborn. We strongly oppose abortion and encourage adoption. We believe the unborn child has a fundamental right to life which cannot be infringed. We believe all human life is sacred regardless of age or infirmity. Therefore, we oppose abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the public funding of any of these abhorrent practices.

McEntee claimed that the wording of this proposal doesn’t mean the party is advocating to remove those exceptions. “We’re not asking lawmakers to outlaw abortion because of rape or incest. We just want to remind people not to forget about adoption as an alternative,” McEntee told the Tribune.

He also said he had an alternative version that said both the fetus and pregnant person have a fundamental right to life and “preserving the life of a mother is always permissible.” But, oh would you look at that, convention rules don’t allow him to change the proposal now.

A fundamental right to life…except for already-born people who can get pregnant.

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