Utah's GOP governor vows to 'hold men responsible' for unplanned pregnancies and childcare

Utah's GOP governor vows to 'hold men responsible' for unplanned pregnancies and childcare
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Wikimedia Commons

Utah's Republican Governor Spencer Cox promised in a news conference late on Tuesday that he would not enact additional restrictions on women seeking abortions in the Beehive State if the United States Supreme Court strikes down Roe versus Wade, The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Wednesday.

Cox also said that men should be held equally accountable for prenatal care and parenting.

“It takes two to make a baby, and too often, that burden falls disproportionately on the mother and not on the father. We need to hold men responsible,” Cox said.

But that does not mean that access to abortion will get any easier for Utah residents.

Abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy were banned in Utah in 2019, transforming it into one of the toughest states in the country in which to end a pregnancy.

“I’m very pleased with the law that’s on the books," Cox told reporters. But that was in reference to even more draconian limitations that GOP lawmakers adopted in 2020 that prohibit elective abortions except in instances of rape or incest or if the life of the mother is endangered, the Tribune noted.

Although that so-called "trigger law" is currently on hold, it likely would take effect if Roe is reversed, forcing patients to obtain abortions in other states with greater reproductive liberty.

Numerous Republican-dominated state legislatures have proposed making it illegal for pregnant persons to cross state lines to obtain an abortion, with some going as far as seeking to charge doctors and patients with murder for terminating a pregnancy.

Cox, however, pledged that he has no intention of going that far.

“I don’t think we should penalize women at all for anything,” he said.

Instead, the governor envisions a "pro-life" stratagem centered on "improving the lives of women in our state," he explained, adding that "if you care about life, that means all life, not just life in the womb."

Cox's approach would include "more opportunities for mothers and children, increasing support for adoption and foster families and working to prevent unwanted pregnancies," according to the Tribune.

Based on that, Cox said, "if we get to the point where a woman needs an abortion, then something has failed along the way."

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