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Gov. Walker & Sen. Bramble Call for Taxpayer Funding of Euthanasia

(Alert for 5/31/04)

euthanasia: "The act or practice of ending the life of an individual suffering from a terminal illness or an incurable condition." — The American Heritage College Dictionary, third edition

Summary: Gov. Olene Walker and many Utah legislators are gearing up for an "emergency" legislative session to weaken last session’s abortion law, outlawing taxpayer funding of abortion-on-demand. Learn why they are sinking to new depths in their hypocrisy and disdain for life and the unborn, and what you can do about it.


1. What Does this Abortion Law Actually Do?

    Abortions Performed in Utah at Taxpayer Expense

    SB 68 a Weaker Version of Colorado Law

2. Proponents of Government-Subsidized Abortion React

3. Officials Again Prove Hypocrisy by Calling for “Emergency” Session

4. The More Consistent Agenda of SB 68’s Sponsor, Sen. Curt Bramble

5. Move Over Jack Kevorkian: Officials Move to Redefine Life & Worth


1. What Does this Abortion Law Actually Do?

Accountability Utah volunteers were heavily involved in the drafting of, and amendments to, Senate Bill 68 (Substitute 3). SB 68 prohibits state and political subdivisions from using public funds for the performance of an abortion except in certain circumstances such as rape, incest, and life of the mother. It also provides penalties (Class B Misdemeanor and termination of government employment) for any government employee who knowingly authorizes the use of public funds for frivolous abortions.
(Note: C. Everett Koop, M.D., former U.S. Surgeon General, stated: "Protection of the life of the mother as an excuse for an abortion is a smoke screen. In my 36 years of pediatric surgery, I have never known of one instance where the child had to be aborted to save the mother's life. If toward the end of the pregnancy complications arise that threaten the mother's health, the doctor will induce labor or perform a Caesarean section. His intention is to save the life of both the mother and the baby. The baby's life is never willfully destroyed because the mother's life is in danger.")

The basic arguments in support of this bill are these:

(1) It is immoral to forcibly seize resources from some citizens to subsidize the health care of others.

(2) Elective abortions are particularly egregious because many taxpayers believe them to constitute murder or at least disregard for the processes of life.

Additional Note: SB 68 was extremely effective at ending abortions in Utah hospitals.  According to the Salt Lake Tribune:

"The law, which took effect May 3, cuts off public funding to any agency that performs abortions except in cases of rape, incest or severe damage to a 'major bodily function' of the mother. Fearing the loss of Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program reimbursements, Utah hospitals have stopped performing the rare procedures."
Source: "Abortion curbs might be eased," Rebecca Walsh, Salt Lake Tribune, May 27, 2004.

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Abortions Performed in Utah at Taxpayer Expense

According to Planned Parenthood's own statistics, in 2001 alone, 3,289 abortions were performed in Utah. Only 30 resulted from rape and 6 were supposedly performed to protect the "life of the mother."

Contrary to popular myth, many of those abortions were directly or indirectly paid for by Utah taxpayers. While Planned Parenthood does not directly perform abortions in Utah, it does work closely with state-licensed hospitals and so-called "clinics" that do perform and/or promote abortions. Many of these state-licensed facilities receive direct and/or indirect taxpayer funding via the State of Utah's public employee health insurance plan, special exemptions, and almost certainly government grants.

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SB 68 a Weaker Version of Colorado Law

SB 68 does not prohibit abortions, but merely requires them to be done through solely private means. SB 68 is a weaker version of Colorado’s successful 1984 statewide initiative, where voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment to eliminate any direct or indirect funding for abortion on demand. The Colorado initiative language is as follows:

Section 50. Public funding of abortion forbidden.
No public funds shall be used by the State of Colorado, its agencies or political subdivisions to pay or otherwise reimburse, either directly or indirectly, any person, agency or facility for the performance of any induced abortion, PROVIDED HOWEVER, that the General Assembly, by specific bill, may authorize and appropriate funds to be used for those medical services necessary to prevent the death of either a pregnant woman or her unborn child under circumstances where every reasonable effort is made to preserve the life of each.
Adopted by the People November 6, 1984 — Effective upon proclamation of the Governor, January 14, 1985. (For the text of the initiated measure and the votes cast thereon, see L. 85, p. 1792.)

Colorado Governor Bill Owens made certain through comprehensive audits and investigations that this initiative is enforced. Because of this language and Gov. Owen’s actions, abortions in Colorado have seen a dramatic decline.

Colorado's constitutional amendment was challenged, however, in the early 1990's. In the case of Hern v. Beye, 57 F.3d 906 (10th Cir. 1995), Colorado's abortion funding restriction was found to violate federal Medicaid law because it denies funding to Medicaid-eligible women seeking abortions to end pregnancies that are the result of rape or incest. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals found that as long as Colorado continues to participate in Medicaid, the state is enjoined from denying Medicaid funding for abortions to qualified women whose pregnancies are the result of incest or rape. The case of Hern v. Beye, therefore, qualifies Colorado's constitutional provision in order that the state may maintain its standing as a participant in the Medicaid program.

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2. Proponents of Government-Subsidized Abortion React

Proponents of weakening SB 68 base their position on the belief that individuals and organizations are entitled to receive government-subsidized health care. They argue that families with unborn who are dead in the womb or who have terminal impairment or illness are being denied their inalienable right to government funding. They argue that it is an unnecessary inconvenience to be forced to seek an elective abortion in a facility that does not receive direct or indirect government funds for such procedures.

Sen. Curt Bramble, sponsor of SB 68, who has now joined the call for amending the new law, recently stated:

"A woman with fatal fetal deformities who can't afford to pay — the state would be barred from providing any funding" [if the law isn't changed].
Source: “Abortion bill likely to be on agenda,” Josh Loftin & Amy Joi Bryson, Deseret News, May 28, 2004.

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3. Officials Again Prove Hypocrisy by Calling for Emergency Session

As we reported in our 2004 Performance Report, for years, the senate has filibustered and killed anti-infanticide bills. In the 2003 legislative session, the senate broke the camel’s back by collaboratively filibustering a bill to ban taxpayer funding of abortion on demand (HB 123 S4). Despite citizen outcry and anger, not one senator would stand up and fight for the unborn, or take any meaningful action. Senator Parley Hellewell stated:

"We would have only had 6 or 7 votes [in the Senate]."

Over the past year, citizens have appropriately and relentlessly confronted each and every senator for his or her cowardice and contempt. Citizens also contacted Governor Leavitt and then Governor Walker, demanding that they hold an emergency session to correct the inaction of the Utah Senate. Protests were held and a resolution at the 2003 GOP party convention calling for a special session was filed (but stifled by GOP party leaders). Despite these efforts, taxpayer-funded murder was not deemed to be an emergency — Governors Leavitt and Walker called no special session.

In desperate fear for their political careers, however, senators sailed SB 68 through the entire legislature this session (21-7 in the senate and 57-13-5 in the house). Again, this bill was even tougher than the bill in 2003 (HB 123 S6).

Unfortunately, in the precious time it took to thrash senators for their vulgar obstruction, over 4,000 infants have been murdered in Utah via “therapeutic” or “elective” abortions. And, again, many of those abortions were directly or indirectly paid for by Utah taxpayers.
For more information, see our report, "How Anti-Infanticide Bills Die in a 'Pro-Life' Senate: A Summary of Facts & Eyewitness Accounts".

Now that a few individuals are inconvenienced by having to go to other facilities to obtain elective abortions, the Governor and legislature are falling over themselves to amend the law. Never mind the thousands of infants whose lives were ended on a yearly basis prior to the enactment of SB 68.

Gov. Walker has even sought input from the very hospitals and agencies that receive government subsidies for guidance on the most effective way to weaken this new law. Is it coincidence that she is pursuing this action now that her gubernatorial campaign has been ended?

In the 2003 session, which was not an election year, the unborn had no voice in the Utah senate. Is it also coincidence that this session — an election year — senators publicly shed tears and relayed heart-wrenching experiences regarding the sanctity of infants? It is coincidence that many Senate Democrats fell over themselves to vote for the final passage of this bill?

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4. The More Consistent Agenda of SB 68’s Sponsor, Sen. Curt Bramble

The sponsor of SB 68, Sen. Curt Bramble, a self-proclaimed supporter of the unborn, has told the media that he now supports amending the law. An analysis of Bramble’s past behavior, however, is not at all consistent with that of an advocate for unborn life.

Like many other senators, Bramble was approached by upset citizens on the last night of the session. According to citizen Terry Trease, at a critical juncture the following interaction occurred:

"Many of us went to the House side and started writing notes to Rep. Curtis requesting that he move HB 123 and HB 109 [a bill requiring informed consent before administering shock treatment] back up to the top of the board. At this time Sen. Curt Bramble came by and asked what bill we were concerned about. We told him what had happened. He said he was the Senate sponsor of HB 123 and HB 109 and requested I come with him to find out what was going on. The middle door to the senate floor was open, so we went and looked at the Senate board to find the positions. Sen. Bramble said one of his bills was up and he had to address it. He went away, and never returned."

Bramble told citizen Daniel Newby, "Don't worry. The abortion bills will be heard." When asked by activist Greg Carlisle if the senate would hear the anti-infanticide bills before the session ended, however, Bramble replied by e-mail:

"It depends on how fast the clock ticks....:)"

In fact, Bramble took no meaningful action to ensure that the HB 123 was heard. He has since publicly made the fantastic claim that he did not even know whether he, or former senator Bill Wright, was the actual senate sponsor of HB 123 S6 until after the session was over.

Of additional note is that the Bramble family made a $100 campaign donation to Senate Democrat Minority Leader Ron Allen’s re-election campaign. Sen. Allen was instrumental in killing time and otherwise filibustering HB 123.
(For more information, see our Civility Utah article.)

Past behavior indicates the likelihood that Bramble was embarrassed into sponsoring SB 68 to attempt to repair the growing perception among citizens that he quietly pursues the pro-abortion agenda. It is laughable to argue that Bramble’s behavior is indicative of an advocate for the unborn.

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5. Move Over Jack Kevorkian: Officials Move to Redefine Life & Worth

Already, pro-abortion champions like Rep. Sheryl Allen (Republican), who pushed many amendments to gut SB 68, are again on the warpath. According to the Salt Lake Tribune,

"…Senator [Curt Bramble] says he is willing to tweak the so-called health exception for mothers and include an exception for fetal 'anomalies'… Sen. Sheryl Allen proposed an amendment on the House floor in February allowing an exception for fetal defects 'generally considered to be lethal within 72 hours'… [Bramble] says he supported Allen's amendment."

Should life now be defined by how long a doctor believes an infant can survive outside of the womb? If this is the case, convicted murderer and euthanasia practitioner Jack Kevorkian did not go far enough: Taxpayers should be forced to fund euthanasia for children and adults with "defects generally considered to be lethal within 72 hours"! In addition, doctors are frequently inaccurate in their predictions of the life span of terminally ill patients. What if they are wrong? And what will prevent legislators from setting the limit beyond 72 hours next year?

The pro-abortion movement has sought to gradually reduce the value of a human being by redefining life, and therefore worth, to the moment of birth (or the moment that the entire infant's body leaves the mother’s body). Now, thanks to Republicans like Olene Walker and Curt Bramble, they have the opportunity to redefine life and worth to 72 hours BEYOND BIRTH. Infants with "anomalies" (as Sen. Bramble put it), or the imperfections of sick and ailing human beings, may soon be subject to taxpayer-funded executions.

The agenda that can move otherwise resistant officials to call an emergency session is simple: There exists opportunity to appease special interests, in this case by forcing citizens to again participate in the act of murder.

Officials like Sen. Bramble offer another example of the horrors of combining short-sightedness and stupidity with the power of law. These officials now threaten to put infants on the same footing as those in China, where infants are slaughtered after birth for imperfections or because the government determined that the family already had their allotment of children.

Sound far-fetched? According to a recent Drudge Report article, titled, "Abortion Soars in Quest for Perfect Babies":

Those with conditions that can usually be corrected medically — such as deformed feet and cleft lips and palates — are instead being terminated.

And the number of abortions of Down's syndrome babies now outstrips live births, despite the fact that those with the condition can live a long and fulfilling life. As screening techniques improve, the trend is likely to grow — horrifying pro-life campaigners.

'These figures are symptomatic of a eugenic trend of the consumerist society hell-bent on obliterating deformity — and at what cost to its own humanity?' said ethicist Jacqueline Laing, of London Metropolitan University. 'We are obliterating the willingness of people to accept disability. Babies are required to fit a description of normality before they are allowed to be born.'

The figures for 2002 — the latest available — from the Office for National Statistics show more women than ever are choosing to terminate babies with potential handicaps, with such abortions rising 8 per cent in a year.

It has renewed fears that strict laws on termination due to disabilities are being flouted by doctors.

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The lives of the unborn again stand in the balance. We strongly recommend that you immediately take the following action:

1. Call (and, if possible, fax and email) the following officials:

Tell them to publicly reject any effort to weaken the current law that prohibits direct or indirect taxpayer funding of abortion. Tell them to motivate their colleagues to do the same.  Inform us of any responses you receive at info@accountabilityutah.org.

2. Forward this message to your family, friends, and any activists you know. Encourage them to voice their concerns and get involved. Don't wait until the legislature forces you to again fund infanticide!

3. Monitor this site for new and updated information and join our alert list by e-mailing us at info@accountabilityutah.org.

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Accountability Utah recipe: Take our information and opinion, research their information and opinion (if it is available), and then examine the law and draw your own conclusions. For more information on similar issues, see the Infanticide section of our Issues & Alerts page.

If you have comments or suggestions, please email us at info@accountabilityutah.org.


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