Some on the left appear to be gearing up to attack Senator Margaret Datyon’s (R – Orem) SB 60 – Abortion Statistics and Reporting Requirements (as amended). This reaction may be a natural one, as Dayton has long advocated for anti-abortion legislation, and those on the left often fear a chipping away of Roe v. Wade.
However, those on the left probably need to hang up their pitchforks and snuff out their torches on this bill.
First, some explanation.
The bill, if it were to pass, would require the Utah Department of Health to collect data outlining how many total abortions have taken place in the state, the stage of pregnancy the abortions took place in, the estimated week of the pregnancy at the time of termination, and the race of the woman seeking the abortion.
If Senator Dayton were proposing these guidelines out of the blue, one could easily question the motives behind the bill – is she collecting data so she could come back in the future with a new bill outlining how (supposedly) terrible and overwhelming the problem is in Utah? Is she collecting information about minorities so that consent laws could be targeted towards particular groups? Could data be used to chip away at particular types of abortion, either because they are so prevalent or so rare? Quite simply, this is not what Dayton would achieve with this bill.
We’ve been collecting this exact data for years. Over the past 40 years, the Utah Department of Health has been required by the federal government to collect this very information and report it to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in order to provide statistics related to abortion. Some states (such as Utah) go above and beyond CDC guidelines, providing information such as the reason for the abortion, and if the fetus was considered viable.
Dayton, in her testimony before the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee, said that the reason for this bill was to put into Utah law what is already federally mandated in the event that the federal government changes its guidelines and decides to remove these current requirements (unlikely, but always a possibility).
In the end, if a woman were to seek an abortion, she would see no difference if the abortion were to take place on the day before or the day after this bill became law. By that same note, we should mention that that fact also makes this bill somewhat unnecessary. Dayton might be better off requesting these provisions if the federal government were to actually remove such mandates.
We should also mention, however, that there really is no reason to run the bill either. So as far as we can tell at this point, it’s completely neutral.
To contact Sen. Dayton, Click Here or call 801-221-0623
Impact on Average Utahn:
High Impact 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 No Impact
Necessary 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 Unnecessary
Great Bill 5 . 4 . 3 . 2 . 1 . 0 . -1 . -2 . -3 . -4 . -5 Poor Bill