In 53 Seconds, Utah Legislature Rushes to Strip Women of Rights


The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Utah Senate debated only 53 seconds yesterday–International Women’s Day–before passing a bill to strip women of their rights.  The bill will require women seeking an abortion to endure a 72-hour delay between the first appointment for an abortion and the actual procedure, accomplishing nothing but raising the financial costs (child care, time off work, transportation) and personal emotional stress of the individual women in question.

Senators voted 22 to 6 to pass HB461, and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature.

The bill will triple the waiting period, from 24 to 72 hours, tying South Dakota for the nation’s longest.  South Dakota’s law is, however, under injunction by a federal judge, who determined that the waiting period and other restrictions in that law posed an undue burden to women. 

Ya think?

The only speaker during debate Thursday was Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, who briefly explained the bill.

A day earlier, the Senate conducted preliminary debate on the bill — but also spent only about a minute before voting and Bramble was the sole speaker.

Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, sponsor of the bill, told the House in earlier debate, “An abortion cannot be undone. … Why would we not want to afford a woman facing a life-changing decision 72 hours to consider ramifications that could last a lifetime?”

Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, was the only lawmaker to speak against the measure when it was in the House, reports the Tribune. She stated that in her dozen years in the Capitol every abortion bill she has seen has had two common threads — they sought to reduce the number of abortions and, “second, they were all run by men.”

The best way to reduce abortions, she said, is to offer comprehensive sex education, or to help single mothers with services for their children, both of which have been rejected by the Legislature.

“I think this is another example of government intrusion into the private, difficult decisions that adults have to make,” said Moss, the only representative to speak against the measure in a debate that lasted less than 15 minutes.

Utah legislators clearly place little value on women. They think they know better than the women carrying a pregnancy what it takes to make a life-long commitment to care for a child, or in most cases, another child; assume that women don’t have the capacity to make such decisions… they are too stupid; and took only 53 seconds to put in place a fundamental restriction of women’s rights that will only adversely affect the individual woman in question, while the lawmakers go merrily along their patriarchal way not bearing any of the costs. 

And yet, it doesn’t seem they have spent much time thinking about the sad state of affairs of actual born children in Utah, for whom they clearly don’t have a moment to spare.

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  • julie-watkins

    I think women are the target mostly because it’s less acceptable to target poor people directly. This will be less of a barrier to high and middle class women. But if you want to make minimum workers more scared and compliant, keep putting the burdens on. It’s a class war as much as a war against women.