Wednesday, January 22 2014, 09:50 PM MST
Sweeping Utah Abortion Bill On Hold, Ruzicka Says
(KUTV) On the anniversary of Roe versus Wade, a sweeping measure that would make most abortions in Utah illegal may be on hold.
"This is just not the year," said Gayle Ruzicka, long time Capitol activist, and the president of Utah's conservative Eagle Forum.
Ruzicka told 2News the measure would have outlawed abortion, except for life and health of the mother, or severe fetal deformity. But instead of seeking those limits, the gay marriage legal struggle may take precedence among citizen lobbyists and legislators who heavily support traditional families.
Ruzicka said waging battles on two fronts would have stretched state dollars, given certain litigation.
"Every time you have a restrictive pro-life bill that's going to save babies, there are lawsuits," she said.
Already---in the gay marriage struggle---the state has set out to defend Utah Constitutional Amendment 3, which defines marriage between one woman and one man. The Attorney General's Office hired three outside lawyers, and they agreed to limit their total compensation in the U.S. Appeals Court phase to $300,000. But whether the state wins, or same sex couples challenging the amendment win, the case may likely be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
"We wanted to see this very important bill pass to protect children," said Ruzicka, of the now 'abandoned' abortion bill. "It's not like we looked and said, 'Is this the year to save (traditional) marriage, or is this the year to save babies?' We have no choice on the marriage issue. It's there, and we're in the fight of our lives." To that end, Ruzicka said she is concerned the state out up the money for a robust defense.
Backers of same sex marriage maintained Utah law and Amendment 3 of discriminating against gays and lesbians. U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby struck down Utah's ban on gay marriage in late December, setting off a burst of same sex couples seeking marriage licenses from county ckerks. Gay marriages stopped when U.S. Supreme Court justices issued a stay on Shelby's ruling.
Ruzicka said she and others also will work to defeat a statewide anti-discrimination bill, which she cast as poorly written in its current form. She claimed similar statutes served as the basis for ushering in gay marriage in other states.
2News tried to reach Senator Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, the sponsor of the the abortion bill---but our attempts were unsuccessful. The Utah Legislature's website listed the status if the measure as 'abandoned.'
By Brian Mullahy
(Copyright 2014 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)