Lehi is the latest city in Utah to declare its strong opposition to abortion and affirm its belief that life begins and must be protected at conception.

Lehi Mayor Mark Johnson signed a proclamation on Tuesday declaring that “all human life, regardless of age including fetal or elderly life, and those who may be mentally or physically impaired, must always be safeguarded and that society must protect those who cannot protect themselves.”

The proclamation, which has no legal bearing, declares Lehi as a “sanctuary city for the unborn” and proclaims that the mayor and city council support “legislation on state and national levels that protects human life from its earliest stages and opposes lessening existing restrictions on abortion and euthanasia.”

Lehi City Councilwoman Paige Albrecht shared a story about her child with disabilities, adding that multiple people recommended she get an abortion when she was pregnant. Albrecht said it upsets her to think “that perfect human being might not have been part of my life.”

“I am so much in support of this,” Councilman Mike Southwick said. “Even if by doing this proclamation it’d only save the life of one person, that one person’s life is definitely worth it.”

Dozens of Lehi residents packed Tuesday’s City Council meeting, almost all of whom were in support of the proclamation.

Merrilee Boyack, a conservative activist who announced her run for Utah House District 56 last Tuesday, urged the council to pass the proclamation and said cities should be leading the fight against abortion.

Sarah Blatter, of Lehi, spoke in opposition to the proclamation. Blatter acknowledged she was not in the majority, but said she did not think the city had the resources or the time to deal with “a very delicate, very serious issue.”

“I think that it is best if we leave the decision-making to the states where you can have a cool head and a warm heart and the resources to devote to this issue,” Blatter said.

The proclamation includes a quote from the American College of Pediatricians stating that human biological research confirms that human life begins at fertilization.

Lehi resident Wes Davey said he opposed elective abortion but was bothered that the proclamation would quote an organization that has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for opposing adoption by LGBTQ couples and linking homosexuality to pedophilia.

Two other Utah cities, Highland and Riverton, passed similar anti-abortion measures in 2019. Last June, the Utah County Commission voted 3-0 to pass a resolution “declaring Utah County’s support for protecting all human life.”

Legislation that would restrict access to abortion is currently being considered at the Utah State Capitol.

On Monday, Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, introduced a bill that would prohibit a woman from receiving an abortion except in cases of rape, incest or if her life was seriously threatened. The law wouldn’t go into unless the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Rep. Steve Christiansen, R-West Jordan, is sponsoring a bill that would require medical professionals to perform an ultrasound and show the images to a pregnant woman seeking an abortion and the fetal heartbeat audible, if possible.

Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, Alliance for a Better Utah and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah released a survey Monday that found that 80% of Utahns do not think the state needs additional restrictions on abortion.

The survey, which was conducted by Dan Jones and Associates, also found that 52% of Utahs would vote to uphold Roe v. Wade if it were up for reconsideration.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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