Utah Governor Signs Bill for 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 22, 2012   |   2:53PM   |   Washington, DC

The governor of Utah has signed a pro-life bill into law that would put in place one of the longest abortion waiting periods in the nation. Such waiting periods habe proven to help reduce the number of abortions and help women avoid aborton decisions they may later regret.

As AP reports:

Gov. Gary Herbert has signed House Bill 461 on Tuesday, increasing the waiting period from 24 to 72 hours.

The waiting period would begin when a woman consults with a doctor anywhere in the state. It doesn’t have to be the doctor who will perform the abortion.
The bill was passed by lawmakers earlier this month during the final hour of the legislative session.

American Civil Liberties Union of Utah attorney Marina Lowe says the waiting period is potentially unconstitutional because it places an undue burden on women seeking an abortion.

The Salt Lake Tribune adds:

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, received strong support in both houses of the Republican-led  Utah Legislature. The bill was also supported by The Eagle Forum and The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake.

Herbert’s spokeswoman Ally Isom said the governor is “an adamant supporter of rights for the unborn and felt the bill appropriately follows a woman facing such a decision to fully weigh her options and implications of that decision. As the sponsor correctly pointed out, an abortion cannot be undone.

“We believe a court will find 72 hours waiting period is not an undue burden.”

Matt Piccolo, policy analyst for the conservative think tank Sutherland Institute, supported the governor’s decision to sign the bill.

“An abortion is a decision that can have lifelong impact on a woman and her family,” said Piccolo. “Given the emotional, physical and psychological impacts on a woman who has an abortion, we think it is reasonable to have waiting period so she can fully understand and think about the consequences of that choice.”