Most Utahns oppose a controversial abortion bill under consideration by lawmakers

Most Utahns oppose a bill now before the Legislature that would outlaw abortions if the only reason the woman seeks the procedure is that the fetus has Down syndrome, a new poll shows.

Pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds in a new survey that 59 percent of Utahns oppose such a new anti-abortion law; 36 percent support it, while 5 percent don’t know.

Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, has HB205, which says a doctor or another person may not perform an abortion under the above circumstances.

The mother would not be prosecuted, but the doctor could be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.

The bill passed the House earlier this month, 54-17, with four absent, and awaits Senate action.

HB205 carries a constitutional note, which says, in the opinion of the Legislature’s attorneys, the bill is highly likely to be found unconstitutional if challenged in court, mainly because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision Roe V. Wade, which makes abortions legal early in a pregnancy.

The Legislature is heavily Republican, with around 80 percent of the 104 lawmakers faithful members of the Mormon Church.

The church has strong anti-abortion positions, but its leaders also advocate members obey the laws in the countries or regions in which they live.


Jones finds:

  • Utah Republicans are split over HB205, 48 percent support it, 46 percent oppose it.
  • Democrats oppose the likely unconstitutional bill, 86-14 percent.
  • Political independents also oppose its passage, 65-31 percent.

Jones finds that those who self-identified as “very active” in their LDS faith also oppose the bill, although by a slight plurality.

  • 48 percent of “very active” Mormons oppose the bill.
  • 46 percent of them support the measure.
  • “Somewhat active” Mormons oppose the bill, 56-33 percent.
  • Those who had been LDS at one time, but no longer follow the faith, oppose the bill, 56-40 percent.
  • Catholics oppose the bill, 51-41 percent.
  • Protestants oppose it, 72-27 percent.
  • And those who told Jones they have no religion at all oppose the bill, 89-10 percent.

Jones polled 609 adults from Feb. 9-16. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.