News Abortion

Utah 72 Hour Wait Law Has No Exception For Fetal Abnormality

Robin Marty

What's harder than waiting 72 hours to get an abortion you want?  Waiting 72 hours to get an abortion you don't want.

The 72-hour wait proposed in a pending Utah law is a burdensome and cruel proposal for women in the state who want to terminate unwanted pregnancies.  But without any exception for women who have been told they have fatally-flawed or nonviable pregnancies, the 72 hours is little more than emotional torture.

Via KSL.com:

The legislation also fails to recognize “an exception for fetal anomaly,” according to the ACLU of Utah letter dated March 14. It was signed by executive director Karen McCreary, legislative and policy counsel Marina Lowe and legal director John Mejia.

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“Requiring a woman to wait 72 hours upon discovering the fetus she is carrying will not survive pregnancy is nothing short of cruel, and certainly could not survive constitutional scrutiny,” the letter said.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert said that he will examine the law before signing it, and will review any potential legal issues then. The only other proposed 72 hour waiting period — in South Dakota — has been under injunction since passage due to a ruling that it was likely unconstitutional.

News Abortion

Louisiana Legislators Force Three-Day Wait on Patients Seeking Abortion Care

Teddy Wilson

Amanda Allen, senior state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that the bill is “insulting” for pregnant people seeking abortion care.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) on Thursday signed a bill that tripled the state’s forced waiting period for people seeking abortion care, reported the Associated Press

Edwards made no public statement upon signing the bill. 

HB 386, sponsored by Rep. Frank Hoffmann (R-West Monroe), would extend the waiting period for a patient seeking an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours.

Pregnant people would continue to be exempt from the mandatory waiting period and forced counseling—instituted in 2014—in the case of a medical emergency. Under state law, a medical emergency is defined as when the “continuation of the pregnancy poses an immediate threat and grave risk to the life or permanent physical health of the pregnant woman.”

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The bill includes an exception for pregnant people who certify in writing that they live at least 150 miles from the nearest licensed clinic that provides abortion services. They would be forced to comply with a 24-hour waiting period, not a 72-hour waiting period.

The house passed the bill in April in a 89-5 vote. The measure breezed through the state senate Wednesday with a 34-4 vote. The bill received bipartisan support in both chambers.

Louisiana joins five other states that force pregnant people to wait three days to receive abortion care. Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah all have 72-hour waiting periods.

Utah’s 72-hour forced waiting period doesn’t dissuade the vast majority of those seeking abortion care, according to a study published in March. The research concluded that the waiting period just makes the procedure more difficult and expensive to obtain.

A pregnant person should be provided with abortion care as soon as possible once the decision is made to terminate a pregnancy, according to recommendations by the World Health Organization.

Amanda Allen, senior state legislative counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement that the bill is “insulting” for pregnant people seeking abortion care.

“Anti-choice politicians in the state have methodically restricted access to abortion and neglected to advance policies that truly address the challenges women and families face every day,” Allen said.

News Abortion

Longer Forced Waiting Periods, Attacks on Fetal Tissue Research Move Through Louisiana Legislature

Teddy Wilson

Louisiana would join five states that force people to wait three days to receive abortion care. Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah all have 72-hour waiting periods.

Louisiana legislators last week passed a pair of anti-choice bills—one that would triple the state’s forced waiting period for those seeking abortion care, and another that prohibits the any type of compensation for fetal tissue. 

HB 386, sponsored by sponsored by Rep. Frank Hoffmann (R-West Monroe), would extend the waiting period for a patient seeking an abortion from 24 hours to 72 hours. The bill also includes a mandate that patients receive written materials published by the state offering “alternatives to abortion.” This policy is already state law.

The bill sailed through the house Wednesday in an 89-5 bipartisan vote. The bill now moves to the state senate for further consideration.

The measure includes an exception for pregnant people who certify in writing that they live more than 150 miles from the nearest licensed clinic that provides abortion services. In the case of a medical emergency, pregnant people would continue to be exempt from the mandatory waiting period and forced counseling.

Louisiana would join five states that force people to wait three days to receive abortion care. Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Utah all have 72-hour waiting periods. All of those states have GOP-controlled legislatures.

Recently published research shows that lengthy forced waiting periods, like the one created by Utah Republicans, dissuade very few people seeking abortion care while increasing the cost of the care. According to a March study published in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 86 percent of the 309 surveyed Utah residents seeking abortion care did end their pregnancies, with average wait times of eight days between the first visit and the procedure. Making two visits increased the cost of abortion care by about 10 percent, the study found.

Louisiana lawmakers become the latest to attack fetal tissue research after a series of smear videos released by an anti-choice front group prompted Republican-led investigations into Planned Parenthood. All of those investigations found no wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood, though that has not stopped Republican legislators from restricting fetal tissue research in various ways.

SB 33, sponsored by state Sen. Ryan Gatti (R-Bossier City), would prohibit the collection, sale, receipt, or transport of fetal organs or tissue. The bill was passed by the senate without debate in a 35-0 vote. The bill now moves to the house for further consideration.

Federal law already prohibits the sale of fetal tissue, but the Louisiana measure would go beyond federal law and prohibit the collection of “fees for storage or handling, any payments for reimbursement, repayments, or compensation.”

Violation of the proposed law would carry a sentence of 10 to 50 years in jail and a fine of up to $50,000.

These bills stem from discredited allegations made by the anti-choice front group known as the Center for Medical Progress (CMP), which began publishing deceptively edited and surreptitiously recorded videos in 2015. CMP’s smear campaign charged that Planned Parenthood violated laws governing the sale of fetal tissue.

Kathaleen Pittman, administrator of the Hope Medical Group for Women in Shreveport, told the Associated Press that lawmakers should stop interfering with medical decisions. “Contrary to what our legislators would have us believe, women are capable of making family planning decisions without government intrusion,” Pittman said.