This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Evidently, Gov. Gary Herbert doesn't think any woman can make one of the most heart-wrenching decisions of her life unless she has a male-dominated state government to tell her that once she decides, she has to wait.
We're talking about abortion, and the fact that Herbert signed a bill mandating that a woman wait three days three long, tortuous days between the time she sees a doctor about the procedure and when she can have it.
According to his spokeswoman, the "governor is an adamant supporter of the rights of the unborn and felt the bill appropriately allows a woman facing the decision to fully weigh her options, as well as the implications of the decision."
There are so many flaws in this thinking. First, to think that women don't already "fully weigh" their options. Or that legislation will ever be superior to a woman's thought process, decision-making and reasons for taking that step.
Or that the rights of an adult, cognitive woman are trumped by a fetus.
Nor does Herbert seem to understand that a woman's right to an abortion before fetal viability has been in place since 1973's Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Utah's law banning elective abortion was struck down by a federal judge in the early 1990s and at a cost of more than $1 million in taxpayer money. Efforts over time by other states have met the same fate.
More recently, South Dakota imposed a three-day waiting period that a federal judge promptly enjoined on the grounds it imposed an undue burden on a woman who, for example, lives far away from medical services and sound counsel.
Geographically, the same burden will rest on Utah women living in our vast rural territory the four abortion clinics are in Salt Lake City, and Planned Parenthood only provides the procedure once a week.
What becomes of a woman whose fetus cannot survive? She has to wait, too? More cruelty from a law sponsored and adopted by a Legislature in which women have scant voice.
It would be enlightening for some of those lawmakers to read the story of Carolyn Jones, a pregnant woman whose fetus was found to have an illness that would have required lifelong medical care and left the child in perpetual pain. Nevertheless, she was forced to undergo a sonogram, as required by Texas law, before termination.
Now, let's go back to the idea that a woman hasn't thought it through and must be nudged by the state to do so.
I don't know of a single woman who hasn't thought deeply, and often agonized, over the decision. She's thought about it for weeks, not just a few mandated days. For better or worse, she will live with that decision for the rest of her life.
No woman needs an ideologically driven and unconstitutional impingement on her right to choose.
Peg McEntee is a news columnist. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, facebook.com/pegmcentee and Twitter, @pegmcentee.