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Timpa: Utah Isn’t Ready to Ban Abortion

Neither those who identify as pro-life or pro-choice are in favor of more abortions. However, eliminating them must come as a product of providing families with assistance, rather than the result of a ban.
%28Design+by+Cecilia+Acosta+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Cecilia Acosta
(Design by Cecilia Acosta | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

This past month, Arizona has moved to reinstate a nearly 200-year-old law. It will ban abortions in their entirety, making no exceptions for extraneous circumstances except to save the life of the mother. 

This, along with the 21 other states that have moved to ban or restrict abortion, represents the consequences of the overturning of Roe v. Wade in 2022.

Abortion remains partially legal in Utah and is available for up to 18 weeks. With other states tightening their grip, Utah’s abortion policy will surely once again be tested.

If the government intends to eliminate abortions, the way to do so is not by outlawing them. It must remove the need for them. Despite this, the Utah government has failed to prove its willingness to provide for mothers. In a state so adamantly against sexual education, banning abortion is counterintuitive. 

Banning abortion cannot be placed higher on the list of priorities than providing for families. 

The Burden of Childcare 

Senate Bill 174, the trigger ban that instated the current abortion regulations, went into effect in June 2022. This bill provided zero budgetary provisions to better support the mothers now forced to carry to term.

Raising a child costs families an average of over $300,000 by the time the child reaches 18. Ignoring this very real financial burden and opting to force women to carry to term forfeits any alleged moral righteousness of such a ban. In states like Utah, infant care can be more expensive than college tuition.

Jason Stevenson, senior director of public policy at the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah said, “We know the number one reason cited most often by people having abortions in Utah is socioeconomic reasons.”

According to Stevenson, out of over 3000 abortions done in 2022, “59% cited socioeconomic reasons as the main reason they got an abortion.”

Childcare, regardless of circumstances, can completely uproot the lives of unexpecting parents. The lack of help that is provided hurts both parents and children. For underprivileged demographics, the burden only worsens.

Lawmakers parade around claiming to be serious about reducing the number of abortions within the state. If this is truly the case, they must be willing to address the actual reasons forcing people to get them and pass legislation accordingly.

Utah Fails Its Mothers 

For the state to ban abortions is to accept the duty of supporting mothers. This is a duty lawmakers have proven themselves to shy away from.

As of 2023, 80% of workers in Utah are not provided with paid parental leave. Sixty-five percent of workers don’t have access to unpaid leave. As it currently stands, the Family and Medical Leave Act provides a subset of workers with unpaid leave. However, no law mandates companies to provide paid parental leave.

As recently as February, a provision in H.B. 193 that served to expand health care coverage to low-income pregnant women was shut down instantly.

At every opportunity, Utah showcases how disinterested it is in providing actual benefits for families and their children.

To give Utah credit, last year, postpartum Medicaid and CHIP coverage was extended from 60 days to a year, a huge win for mothers. According to Stevenson, this bill barely passed after three years of fighting.

“Most of the people who were against that bill were the people who are most adamant against abortion,” Stevenson said.

If lawmakers are so adamant about an abortion ban in Utah, the state must be willing to take on the responsibilities associated with it.

Men’s Problem, Too 

Rearing a child is as taxing to men as it is to women. Or, at least, it should be.

Men are unjustifiably excused from any necessary responsibility of carrying a child to term. Thirteen percent of fathers leave during pregnancy, with the ratio jumping to 63% in teenagers.

Of the fathers that do stay, there is no evidence to suggest that this is merely a women’s issue. Men bear, or at least should bear, all the same burdens.

Men supporting women’s reproductive autonomy shouldn’t be presented as some selflessly feminist act. Men can and should be inclined to support abortion selfishly. It is just as relevant to them.

The Hypocrisy of an Abortion Ban 

To reduce abortion is to reduce the need for abortion, not ban abortion altogether. Prioritizing a ban leaves families stranded. We cannot choose the easiest possible solution to a very complex problem. 

Currently, abortions are a necessary aspect of healthcare, a truth ignored by those who oppose them. 

Lawmakers especially are guilty of this. Stevenson attributes this to a lack of curiosity, knowledge and most importantly caring about the impacts of the laws that they pass.

The same lawmakers use abortion as a means to garner votes.  

“Solving this problem doesn’t make their base come out and vote for them … there’s no power,” Stevenson said.

They are as dedicated to staying in office as they are uninterested in solving real problems. 

Neither those who identify as pro-life or pro-choice are in favor of more abortions. However, eliminating them must come as a product of providing families with assistance, rather than the result of a ban.

A state that has no interest in increased sexual education, providing for mothers and addressing vital socioeconomic factors has no business in the department of banning abortions.

 

[email protected]

@timpa.chronicle

 

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About the Contributors
Matthew Timpa
Matthew Timpa, Opinion Writer
(he/him) Matthew is majoring in Marketing and minoring in Philosophy at the University of Utah, with a stressfully vague idea of what he wants to do career-wise. He's from Las Vegas, Nevada and enjoys playing volleyball, thrifting, and reading.
Cecilia Acosta
Cecilia Acosta, Designer
Cecilia is excited to be at the University of Utah studying Graphic Design and Animation. She's grateful to be a part of a team of such creative individuals here at the Chronicle. Although originally from Mesa, Arizona, she has been loving the gorgeous scenery, snowy winters, and fun activities that Utah has to offer. Besides art and design, she also enjoys hiking, boba tea, dancing, and journaling.

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