Utah's governor signed a bill into law requiring a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion, according to Yahoo News, although that a similar mandate was rejected recently in a South Dakota federal court.
The Republican governor Gary Herbert's decision is expected to meet approval of the majority conservative state legislature and reeks of political motives as he rejected a law seeking to restrain sexual education in schools just 4 days ago.
"Governor Herbert is an adamant supporter of rights for the unborn," said Ally Isom, a Herbert spokeswoman. "He felt the bill appropriately allows a woman who's facing that decision to fully weigh her options and the implications of that decision."
The state currently requires a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, which was also upheld in one of the Supreme Court's landmark abortion cases, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in the early 1990's because the court found that it did not impose an undue burden upon women.
The law is is just the latest in the hot button field of abortion. Further, in neighboring Idaho, lawmakers are currently flirting with the idea of requiring women to undergo an ultrasound before ending a pregnancy.
A South Dakota law that passed last year also imposed a 72-hour waiting period for women seeking to have an abortion. However, the state's Planned Parenthood organization sued in federal court because it felt the law violated both a woman's right to equal protection of the laws and due process under the 14th Amendment.
Chief Judge Karen Schreier of the U.S. District Court for South Dakota agreed with Planned Parenthood as she issued a preliminary injunction against the mandate last June.
Schreier observed that the mandate imposed an undue burden on women because some low-income abortion patients travel long distances and cannot afford to make 2 separate trips when seeking an abortion.
"We believe that a court will find the 72-hour waiting period (in Utah) is not an undue burden," the governor's spokeswoman, said.
There is one slight distinction between the South Dakota and Utah laws. While South Dakota's mandate required those seeking an abortion to wait 72-hours after an initial consultation with an abortion provider, Utah's law only requires a 72-hour wait after the an initial meeting with any health provider.
A small distinction, but one that the governor believes will circumvent the undue burden standard.
The law is expected to take effect on May 7. Additionally, 24 States currently require some form of waiting period.
It begs the question how long of a wait is too long to constitute an undue burden on women seeking an abortion. I guess we will see if this law is eventually challenged in court. And, whether the slight difference in the Utah statute makes any difference to a potentially presiding judge.
What do you think?
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