The Latest: Governor signs abortion anesthesia bill

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Posted: Mar 29, 2016 12:19 AM
The Latest: Governor signs abortion anesthesia bill

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on legislation that would make Utah the first state to require anesthesia for women having abortions at 20 weeks or later (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

Republican Gov. Gary Herbert has approved a bill that makes Utah the first state to require doctors to give anesthesia to women having an abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later.

The proposal is based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point.

Many doctors in Utah and throughout the country are concerned that the plan could pose a risk to women because fetal anesthesia is unnecessary.

Supporters of the law say a fetus should be protected if there's even a chance it can feel pain.

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12:30 p.m.

The governor of Utah is considering whether to sign a bill this week that would make Utah the first state to require doctors to give anesthesia to women having an abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later.

The law recently passed by the state Legislature is based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point.

Many doctors in Utah and across the country are concerned that the proposal could increase the health risks to women by giving them unnecessary heavy sedation in order to protect a fetus from pain that it may or may not feel.

No other U.S. state has passed a law like this one, said Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the abortion-rights nonprofit Guttmacher Institute.