Utah lawmakers pass abortion anesthesia bill

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah’s GOP-controlled Legislature has approved a proposal requiring doctors to administer anesthesia before an abortion performed after 20 weeks gestation, based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that point.

State law currently gives women the choice to have anesthesia for the fetus to reduce potential pain during abortion.

Utah’s House of Representatives approved the bill Thursday, returning it to the Senate for approval. That chamber signed off on it and advanced it to Gov. Gary Herbert.

The Republican governor hasn’t said if he’ll sign it but says he supports the general concept.

The bill makes some exceptions if there’s a risk of the woman’s death or substantial or irreversible harm to the woman.

Montana lawmakers passed a similar law in 2015 but that state’s governor later vetoed the measure.

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