The state of Utah now has the longest mandated "waiting period" for abortions in the country, after the state's House and Senate voted to extend the time women seeking abortions must wait from one day, to three.
The move is designed to give women more time to think about their decision and find potential alternatives, but pro-abortion activists like Planned Parenthood are outraged.
“For some people that may be a point of celebration,” Planned Parenthood of Utah Director Karrie Galloway said. “For others it may be a point of heartache...Women make good decisions and think about their decisions and the legislature telling them how long they need to think about their decision — it’s insulting.”
A Salt Lake Tribune columnist wrote:
With this sort of logic, there are all sorts of things for which the government should require a 72-hour waiting period. At the risk of giving them any ideas, let’s examine a few.
Why shouldn’t you have to wait 72 hours before getting drunk or high? Lots of really bad decisions get made when you’re hammered, so it’s only fair that you sign a letter of intent, then sit in a room for three days before being served.
I also think you should have to wait 72 hours before going to church every week. Church is a deeply personal matter, but it’s often where one’s view of the world is reinforced to the extent that it becomes imperative to impose it on everyone else.
If waiting 72 hours before resolving an unwanted pregnancy is a good idea, why not a 72-hour wait before getting pregnant on purpose? Given issues of overpopulation and increasing poverty, it’s only fair to the rest of us that you go through a cooling-off period...
Sponsored by Republican Representative Steve Eliason in the House and State Senator Curtis Bramble in the Senate, Eliason believes otherwise.
“I think it’s a positive change for women and children...At the end of the day, it’s a consumer-protection law. The focus of this bill is women having time to consider all of the information that is given to them when facing a life-altering decision that somebody else is making money off of.”
An Alliance Defense Fund Allied attorney commented:
“If Planned Parenthood truly cared about the well-being of women, it would not try to rush them into the abortion chamber before determining that her decision is not being coerced...This law ensures that women have a chance to get accurate information and counseling from those who seek to protect the mother’s true rights. The requirement of a 72-hour waiting period is essential to ensure her decision is voluntary and informed."
What do you think? Is Utah right to mandate a waiting period so that women can be certain of their decision, or is this a personal matter in which the government ought not interfere?