In the more than four decades since the U.S. Supreme Court recognized a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy, states have enacted well over 1,000 abortion restrictions. Anti-choice forces are gaining ground: More than one-fourth of those restrictions were passed in the last five years. Last year alone, 17 states enacted 57 new laws limiting reproductive choice.
Many of these policies flout established medical standards, disrupt a woman’s ability to seek and act on counsel from her trusted health-care provider, and make accessing abortion care more expensive. But one bill recently signed into law in Utah, SB 234, managed to encapsulate a number of troubling harms. SB 234 requires women, with only very narrow exceptions, to undergo anesthesia if they choose abortion care after the approximate midway point of pregnancy. While only a small number of patients seek such care, at least one physician has noted that the law could also apply to women seeking to induce labor—an undoubtedly unintended consequence. And the women themselves may have to pay out-of-pocket for the anesthesia, which could cost them thousands of dollars.The above excerpt was originally published in Rewire.