Utah Legislator May Put The Beginning of Life On Ballot
Salt Lake City Political Buzz Examiner
by Alison Peek
February 7, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY - Freshman Senator Aaron Osmond-R, South Jordan is exploring the possibility of an amendment to the Utah Constitution that would determine when life begins in the state. He has opened SJR23; a bill file entitled “Joint Resolution on Human Life.” The bill currently does not have text.
The so-called “personhood” amendment would define when the state determines life actually begins - at the time of conception, or once the fetus is viable and can live outside the womb, or at the moment of birth. Or, for that matter, any time in between. Osmond’s amendment, like those written under the term “personhood” say life begins at the moment of conception.
Osmond maintains he has been approached by constituents about a “personhood” amendment, but the Utah Eagle Forum’s Family Action Coalition has come forward stating they approached the Senator after he attended a meeting about this type of legislation. He believes “this is an opportunity to open some dialogue on this topic.”
This type of legislation does more than determine when life begins; it impacts many issues including contraception and the possible criminalization of using birth control, in-vitro fertilization (fertilization outside the human body), ectopic pregnancies (when an embryo implants outside of the uterus and can kill the mother), miscarriages that could carry murder charges, reproductive rights, rights of privacy, women’s rights and abortion rights.
“Personhood” legislation was introduced and failed in Mississippi and twice in Colorado. Similar laws are being pushed by pro-life groups in a number of states including Ohio, Oregon, Montana, Florida, California, Oregon, Alaska and Nevada. There are several similar federal laws under consideration by lawmakers.
Amending Utah’s Constitution requires a two-thirds majority in Utah’s Senate and House of Representatives. It would then go on the ballot. Osmond is not sure if the measure would require a constitutional amendment.
Osmond was appointed as a senator last April to replace retiring Senator Chris Buttars. He has yet to face an election.