Fetal pain law now in Utah

Governor Gary Herbert signs first law of its kind
Governor Gary Herbert of Utah (photo from Gretawire)

Governor Gary Herbert of Utah (photo from Gretawire)

The following comes from a March 30 USA Today article:

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill that requires doctors to give anesthesia to women having an abortion 20 weeks into their pregnancy or later — the first law of its kind in the USA.

Among other provisions, SB 0234 requires doctors who perform abortions to administer an anesthetic on women who are at least 20 weeks pregnant, suggesting it would reduce or eliminate pain a fetus may be feeling.

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

Other states have tried to enact similar provisions, but Utah is the first state to require anesthesia. Montana lawmakers passed a similar law in 2015 requiring fetal anesthesia before surgeries, including abortions, performed after 20 or more weeks of gestation, but the Democratic governor, Steve Bullock, vetoed the measure.

“The sanctity of life, protecting those who have no voice — that’s what this (bill) is about,”  said Sen. Curt Bramble (R), the legislation’s sponsor. “I think the message is clear that abortion is an abomination.”

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