Utah State Rep. Karianne Lisonbee has apologised for saying she trusts women to “control that intake of semen” to avoid pregnancy — on the same day the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and Utah’s abortion trigger ban went into effect.
Ms Lisonbee, a staunchly pro-life Republican who has a degree in family life from Brigham Young University, made the controversial comments on Friday as Utah legislators were celebrating the Supreme Court decision and the state’s subsequent implementation of laws prohibiting all abortions except for in limited circumstances.
“I got a text message today saying I should seek to control men’s ejaculations and not women’s pregnancies,” she told reporters Friday at a news conference at the Utah Capitol, adding: “I do trust women enough to control when they allow a man to ejaculate inside of them and to control that intake of semen.”
Her comments quickly went viral and the backlash was swift and severe, especially from sexual assault victim advocacy groups. Ms Lisonbee, who lists her job on the Utah state government site as “homemaker,” soon walked back and clarified the statements.
“What I said in the press conference [yesterday] when referring to the message I received and my response to it did not reflect what I intended to express or the full content of my written reply which included the statement that women do not have a choice when they are raped, and have protections under Utah’s trigger law,” Ms Lisbonee said in a text message to The Independent.
Ms Lisonbee has previously proposed legislation that would allow reviews of passed-on or waiting sexual assault cases.
“My first statement in the press conference made clear the actions I have taken to pass bills that provide legal protection and recourse to victims of sexual assault,” her text continued.
“The political and social divide in America seems to be expanding at an ever faster pace. I am committed to ongoing respectful and civil engagement. I can always do better and will continue to try.”
Ms Lisonbee, the House Rules Vice-Chair, has served on the Utah State Legislature since 2017.
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