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Governor Signs Abortion Bill Into Law

stevanovicigor via iStock

Women are reacting to a new law in Utah that will require doctors to present certain information to those seeking a medication-induced abortion. 

Governor Herbert signed HB141 on Saturday after lengthy debate during the legislative session. The new law is scheduled to go into effect in May. It will  require doctors to inform women taking a two drug combination to end a pregnancy, that the abortion can be halted after the first drug is ingested.

"The intent of the bill is to negatively stigmatize a very safe, very common procedure," says Kate Kelly. 

Kelly is an attorney in Salt Lake City. She spoke out against the bill during the legislative session. Lawmakers changed the language of the bill from stating that medical abortions may be reversed, to saying women “may still have a viable pregnancy.” If women are having second thoughts after the first drug they “should consult a physician immediately.”  Kelly says she’s concerned that women are receiving the wrong information.

"The changing of the language in the bill made it passable, so they got what they wanted, but it didn’t change the fundamental premise which is that women need to be told that abortion is reversible which isn’t medically accurate," Kelly says. 

Critics say there is not sufficient scientific research supporting what doctors will now have to tell their patients.

Deanna Holland is the vice president of Pro-Life Utah. She says the new law does not specifically reference the disputed studies about interrupting an abortion.

"Really, this bill leaves it up to the abortion provider still, what information they give them about the possibility of stopping a medicated abortion. Right now, the way the bill is, everything in that bill is medically accurate," Holland says. 

The Utah Department of Health will add the language of HB141 to printed and online materials by May.

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