Women Will be Held Criminally Liable for Abortions in Utah

By Brennan McCord

Mar 11, 2010 1:49pm

ABC News' Brennan McCord reports:  A new Utah law now holds women criminally liable for illegal abortions.  Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed the law on Monday that will allow women to be charged for “killing an unborn child.”   This legislation is the first in the United States that will hold a woman criminally responsible for the death of her fetus.

Rep. Carl Wimmer pushed for the legislation after a 17 year-old girl allegedly paid her boyfriend, Aaron Harrison $150 dollars to her end her pregnancy by beating her in the stomach.  The baby survived and  Harrison later pleaded guilty to second-degree felony attempted murder. He is currently serving up to five years in prison. The girl, on the other hand, pleaded no contest to a second-degree felony count of criminal solicitation to commit murder and was initially ordered to be placed in the custody of the Utah Juvenile Justice Services until she turned 21. 

Wimmer has called such acts “heinous” and has described himself in interviews as “unapologetically pro-life.” 

Abortion rights groups say that the intent of the Utah law is not to crack down on rare cases such as the 17 year-old, but rather to stifle women’s access to abortions and that education and legal access to an abortion is a better way to address the issue.


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