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Utah lawmaker says at-home rape kits could be used for ‘novelty purpose’



A Utah lawmaker’s remark about over-the-counter rape kits being used for a “novelty purpose” sparked criticism Friday.

“If a person wants to purchase this for a novelty purpose or for a non-law enforcement purpose, they ought to have that right,” said Rep. Nelson Abbott (R-Orem) on the House floor.

The lawmaker later walked back his choice of words in an interview with 2News but not before colleagues called the suggestion “offensive” and “alarming.”

Rep. Abbott, who’s serving his first term, said it was the first time he’s spoken on the House floor. He said “novel” may have been a more appropriate word to mean something he hadn’t thought of or didn’t understand.

Abbott’s argument in voting against the bill was that deceptive marketing laws are already on the books, and he supports giving women the option to use the kits if they wish to do so.

“I want to respect them and give them options to do what they think is best for them,” he said.

Supporters of the ban on the kits said they give victims false hope and are not admissible in court.

The Utah House passed the bill 49-21, and the proposal is now on its way to the Senate.

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