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According to reports, the governor of Utah on Monday signed a bill requiring doctors to give anaesthesia to women getting an abortion after 20th week of gestation.
The bill signed is first of its kind and it states that the anaesthetic used at the 20th month of pregnancy during abortion will help in eliminating or alleviating any form of organic pain to the unborn child, Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Spokesperson for the Republican Governor Gary Herbert, in a statement said, “The governor is adamantly pro-life. He believes in not only erring on the side of life, but also minimizing any pain that may be caused to an unborn child.”
Anti-abortion groups and supports of the bill issues are of the opinion that a fetus can feel physical pain of the abortion is conducted around the 20th week of pregnancy. Therefore the anaesthetic will help in alleviating that pain or discomfort.
However, the Planned Parenthood in Utah and other reproductive health experts have said that this notion that the fetus can feel pain is scientifically not proven. The advocates also said that by issuing such a bill, lawmakers are inserting politics in a private medical issue, the Tribune reported.
The new law will require the doctors to administer anaesthesia to women who come to seek an elective abortion around the 20th week of their pregnancy. No such rule was applicable before, the women had a choice of taking or not taking any anesthesia, Reuters reported.
The Tribune reported that the law will not majorly affect many women in the state as records show that only 17 women opted for abortion at their 20th week of pregnancy or later in the year 2014. Abortions are not allowed in Utah around the time of 22 weeks of pregnancy as that is the time when the fetus is viable.
Sponsor of the bill, the Republican state Senator Curt Bramble had originally wanted to ban abortion in the states after 20 weeks of pregnancy however he was informed that the move would be against the constitution.