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Fetal Pain Bill Gets Preliminary Approval In Utah Senate

Brian Grimmett
Activists protest against SB234 outside the Senate Chamber

The Utah Senate has given preliminary approval to a bill that would require anesthesia to be given to fetuses older than 20 weeks that are going to be aborted.

SB234’s sponsor, Republican Senator Curt Bramble, says he’d ban abortion altogether if he could, but since he can’t, he’s at least going to try and protect the unborn child.

“If we’re going to forfeit the life of a child, we ought to at least have the humanity to protect them from pain,” Bramble's says.

But those opposed to the bill say that there is no medical evidence that a fetus can even feel pain until much later in the development process. Republican Sen. Brian Shiozawa, who is an emergency room doctor, says while he agrees with the premise of the bill, he thinks it’s cumbersome to doctors and could be improved.

“And I encourage the Senator to consult one more time with the medical association and the very people, not just a few scattered individuals, but some of the leaders in this specialty and talk about the bill,” Shiozawa says.

The Senate will vote on the bill again for a final time on Monday. 

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