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Utah, apparently

Utah seems like a terrible place. Oh, must we elaborate on that? Fine. Utah seems like a terrible place if you are a woman who has the misfortune of wanting to exercise your constitutional right to have a medical procedure that is usually one of the safest procedures in all of modern medicine. Utah’s uber-conservative super-smartypants legislators and governor decided abortion is a little too safe and accessible for women, so presto change-o, fixed that for ya, girls, you’re welcome:

Utah’s governor on Monday signed a bill requiring doctors to administer anesthesia to women receiving an abortion at the 20th week of gestation, his office said.

The bill, the first of its kind in the nation according to the Salt Lake Tribune, states that an anesthetic or analgesic will “eliminate or alleviate organic pain to the unborn child.”

Oh, well, in that case, it’s totally worth the medically unnecessary step of extra-drugging women. The “pro-lifers” who run the state say so, thus it must be true. Just out of curiosity, though, let’s ask an actual medical professional doctor person. Tell us what you think, Wonkette’s Official Favorite Ladyparts MD, Dr. Jen Gunter:

The bill has been labelled by many as the anesthesia bill because it requires that providers give anesthesia for abortions after 20 weeks. This is based on the incorrect belief that a fetus can feel pain before 24 weeks. This is obviously an attempt to raise the cost of the procedure and restrict it to operating rooms, adding even more barriers.

Oh. This bill doesn’t actually benefit or protect the fetus in any way, but it does make it an even bigger pain in the ass for women to just get their damned abortions? Cool. Anything else wrong with this stupid bill?

The law says “anesthetic or analgesic” with no specifications and I don’t know anyone who does 20 week or later procedures without some kind of anesthesia or analgesia (pain relief) for the pregnant woman and almost all these medications cross the placenta.

Pffft, silly Dr. Jen. The bill isn’t about alleviating the woman’s pain. Who cares about that? It says right there in the name of the bill that the point is “protecting unborn children,” not their evil heartless mothers. Anything else you think is bad and wrong with this bill because you’re a dumb doctor person instead of a brilliant Utah legislator?

Anesthesia and analgesia are very broad terms. A Tylenol is analgesia and as acetaminophen crosses the placenta that would count as fetal analgesia. Most providers give some kind of intravenous sedation for second trimester procedures, so that pretty much covers anesthesia and analgesia. If it the law said only eliminate pain then heavy sedation or a general anesthetic would be required, but alleviate is improve.

So, this new law was written by people who didn’t go to medical school and are using terms they do not understand, to tell people who did go to medical school to do something that does not make any actual literal sense, medically speaking? Neat! At least the governor had a terrific reason for signing this into law:

“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,” a spokesman for Republican Governor Gary Herbert said in a statement.

Oh wait, that’s not a terrific reason. That’s a stupid nonsense unlogic reason, from a virulently anti-choice a-hole, based on “pro-life” propaganda science fiction lies, in order to create yet another unnecessary burden for women to make it that much harder, in a state where it’s already not very easy, to obtain a legal medical procedure.

In other words, it’s a day that ends in “y.”

[Reuters / Dr. Jen Gunter]

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