Abortions in Utah will be banned after 18 weeks thanks to legislation signed into law March 25 by Gov. Gary Herbert. Utah is one of a growing number of states to increase limits on abortion.
Other new restrictions in Utah include a 72-hour waiting period and an informed consent educational session. The 18-week ban – which includes exceptions for rape, fetal deformity, or serious threats to the mother's health – takes effect in May.
Republican Rep. Cheryl Acton, who introduced HB136, told CBN News she sponsored the bill to decrease the amount of second-trimester abortions that "shock the conscience."
"Utah is known as a pro-family state. We have the nation's highest birth rate," Acton said at a hearing last month. "So we should be the safest place in the nation, born and unborn."
Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union have vowed to challenge the measure in court.
"These medically unnecessary restrictions can cause delays that force abortion later into pregnancy and disproportionately impact women who live in rural areas of our state and families who are economically disadvantaged," a joint statement read.
The likely court action is part of a trend as more states seek to limit abortions. Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, signed a similar bill on March 15, which opponents have also vowed to fight. Mississippi, Iowa, and Kentucky have moved to ban abortions as soon as the unborn baby's heartbeat is detected.
While pro-life advocates are celebrating wins in state houses, they suffered a loss on March 25 when a federal judge rendered North Carolina's 20-week abortion ban unconstitutional. That state’s ban went on the books the same year as the Roe v. Wade ruling was handed down, LifeSite News reported, in the latest ruling District Court Judge William Osteen determined the state cannot limit abortions before a child can survive outside the womb.
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Lori Arnold is a national award-winning journalist whose experience includes 16 years at a daily community newspaper in San Diego and 16 years as writer-editor for the Christian Examiner. She owns StoryLori Media and is a member of the Evangelical Press Association.