by Steven Ertelt
March 17, 2006
Salt Lake City, UT (LifeNews.com) — Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman signed a bill into law on Thursday that would require teenagers in the state to receive their parents’ permission before they could have an abortion. Lawmakers say they hope the measure will reduce abortions and give parents more say over their children’s major health decisions.
The new law replaces an older one that required only notifying parents of a teen’s desire to have an abortion. It takes effect on May 6.
The new law will allow teens in abusive situations to pursue a judicial bypass, but it would not remove the notification requirement in such cases.
That’s a point that abortion advocates used to try to engender opposition to the bill and it could be a point of contention in a potential lawsuit against it should it become law.
Mike Mower, the governor’s deputy chief of staff, told the Associated Press that Huntsman "supports efforts to restrict abortion, except in instances in rape or incest, or where necessary to preserve the life of the mother."
According to the state health department, there were 3,338 abortions statewide in 2003.
The Utah Department of Health estimates that 195 girls had abortions in Utah two years ago, according to the latest statistics available. Twenty-four of the girls were younger than 15 and 171 were 15 to 17.
A February poll conducted by Deseret Morning News/KSL-TV found 54 percent of Utah citizens said they favor the parental consent requirement while just 43 percent oppose the idea.