When South Dakota passed the nation’s longest waiting period for obtaining an abortion, local courts injucted the bill until it could be argued in a court of law. But that hasn’t stopped Utah from pursuing lengthening their own state’s waiting period, too.
Utah’s new 72 hour waiting period has made it out of committee, and will likely be voted on in the state legislature this week. Republicans are trying to frame it as a “consumer protection” initiative, while opponents call it an onerous roadblock for the rural poor.
“For those women who have the fewest financial resources, those who must travel long distances, and those who will have difficulty explaining their whereabouts to others, a 72-hour waiting period will be particularly burdensome,”ACLU attorney Marina Lowe told the Salt Lake Tribune.
Currently, Salt Lake City is the only place in the state where an abortion can be obtained. And, surrounded by large, population sparse conservative states, even trying to go across the boarder to a neighboring clinic can often be unfeasible. This leaves many women essentially with no choice, unless they are able to afford gas, child care, hotels and other expenses, adding to the procedure’s cost.
Bill supporters say they have never talked to a woman who “decided to carry her baby to term say she wished she had an abortion instead.” The obvious inference? If you take away a woman’s choice and force her to carry an unwanted child to term, eventually she’ll be happy that you did.
Meanwhile, a bill that will forbid Utah schools from teaching about contraception, and allow them to skip sex ed all together, is still working its way through the legislature.
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