Utah to require anesthesia for abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy

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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who opposes abortion rights, signed a law March 29, 2016 that requires anesthesia be used in abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.    REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who opposes abortion rights, signed a law March 29, 2016 that requires anesthesia be used in abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who opposes abortion rights, signed a law March 29, 2016 that requires anesthesia be used in abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who opposes abortion rights, signed a law March 29, 2016, that requires anesthesia be used in abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. REUTERS/Mike Theiler

(Reuters) — Utah’s governor has signed a bill requiring doctors to administer anesthesia to women receiving an abortion at the 20th week of gestation, his office said.

The bill, the first of its kind in the nation, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, states that an anesthetic or analgesic will “eliminate or alleviate organic pain to the unborn child.”

“The governor is adamantly pro-life. He believes in not only erring on the side of life, but also minimizing any pain that may be caused to an unborn child,” a spokesman for Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said in a statement.

Supporters of the bill and anti-abortion rights groups say that around the 20th week of pregnancy a fetus can feel physical pain, and anesthesia can eliminate discomfort.

Reproductive health advocates, including Planned Parenthood of Utah, told the Tribune the position is scientifically unproven and lawmakers have inserted politics into a private medical matter.

Under the new law, doctors performing abortions would be required to administer anesthesia to women seeking an elective abortion around 20 weeks. Previous state law gave women the choice whether or not to opt for anesthesia.

Abortions are prohibited in Utah after the point when the fetus is viable, which is around 22 weeks.

The law will not affect a large number of women, the Tribune reported, with 17 women in Utah receiving abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later in 2014, it said.

Republican state Sen. Curt Bramble, who sponsored the bill, had originally wanted to ban abortions after 20 weeks but was told the move would be unconstitutional, the Tribune reported.

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  • yoh

    Another self righteous, narcissistic ignoramus who thinks he knows better than medical professionals on the treatment for female patients. Eff him and the self important legislators who naturally think what goes on in a woman’s body is their business and that they have a right to make decisions for all of them.

  • Interesting…How will the doctor gauge the amount of anesthesia considering the size of the fetus vs the mothers weight. How will the doctor know if there is an allergy? Allergic reactions are rare in full size patients. However how will the anesthesia be monitored within the womb. Also doesn’t this make the fetus viable as the fetus is now a patient? I think this sounds like backdoor legislation to eliminate abortions.

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  • Chauffeur

    Amazing to see posts that criticize or question even the smallest amount of compassion for the unborn. Sort of sounds like a blood lust; “Slaughter them! And torture them in the process!!!”

  • Abu

    It’s OK for you to keep using the “it’s my body ,my choice” argument. But the same people like you force us to buy health insurance policies that contain coverage that “my body” doesn’t need. Or to tell us we can’t eat certain things, or smoke, or drink. When does “my choices for my body” take affect?

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  • yoh

    Because you show zero compassion for the born! You show zero understanding of what is and is not your business. You are mistaken in the belief that your views entitle you to make decisions for others.

  • yoh

    Because health coverage is also my body and again none of your business how it is used. Insurance is compensation for work not a gift by employers. Insurance works only by insuring the latest swath of people for things. I can’t help it if the economics of private health coverage goes over your head.

    The only people trying to tell others how to make their personal decisions are the fetus worshipers. The people who are so self righteous and narcissistic that they feel entitled to make decisions for all women.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Well, duh.

  • George Nixon Shuler

    Because a fetus is not a person and these “fetal pain” bills are claptrap based on unscientific claims. Your side shows no compassion whatsoever for the woman or provides her any help in raising a child after forcing her to give birth, but at least she is a person. You can’t slaughter that which has not been born.

  • Garson Abuita

    Because it’s not about anesthesia, or compassion for the unborn. It’s about trying to make the fetus a legal person. Plenty of women I’m sure opt for anesthesia already. My own wife had anesthesia during a simple D&C for a missed pregnancy.

  • Abu

    Really? Why should I be forced to buy a policy which includes coverage for things that “my body” doesn’t need? Liberals are fond of using the “faux auto insurance analogy” as an argument for compulsory health insurance purchase. If that’s the case, why should good drivers not be paying the same auto insurance rates as really bad drivers? Why should I as a healthy person who takes care of myself, be forced to subsidize many people who’ve made bad decisions?

  • yoh

    Come back to me when you learn about the economics of group health insurance. You want an alternative? Support single payer health coverage. Otherwise, your statement is an irrelevancy.

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