Did you know that Utah recently made it even more difficult for young women to access abortion?
In March 2006, Utah Governor Jon Huntsman signed H.B. 85, which was sponsored by state Rep. Kerry Gibson (R), enacting measures adding a parental consent requirement to the state's existing parental notification laws. The new law requires doctors to obtain a parent's consent 24 hours before a young woman has an abortion. Although the statute provides minors the option of obtaining a court order to waive the parental-consent requirement, doctors are still required to notify one of minor's parents even in cases where a judge says the young woman doesn't need a parent's permission.
Mandatory parental involvement laws endanger young women's health by forcing some women – even those from healthy, loving families – to turn to illegal or self-induced abortion, to delay the procedure and increase the medical risk or to bear a child against their will. Utah's increased restriction on young women's access to abortion care further jeopardizes teen safety and fails to solve the problem of troubled family communication; instead it only exacerbates a potentially dangerous situation.
H.B. 85, 56th Leg., 2006 Reg. Sess. (Utah 2006) (to be codified in Utah Code Ann. § 76-7-304) (Enacted 1974) (Last Amended 2006); Elizabeth Neff, Abortion Law Puzzles Even Judges, Salt Lake Trib., May 1, 2006.