Utah Abortion Law Amendments (SB 118)
This law was last updated on May 11, 2018
SB 118 would amend various provisions relating to abortion law.
The bill would clarify that an abortion may be performed only in an abortion clinic or a hospital, unless it is necessary to perform the abortion in another location due to a medical emergency.
Abortion Reversal Clarification
The bill would clarify that a physician would only need to inform a pregnant person regarding the options and consequences of aborting a medication-induced abortion, if the proposed abortion procedure is a medication-induced abortion.
The bill would amend informed consent requirements to replace the state’s current abortion education materials (a brochure and video) with an information module developed by the health department.
In addition to the information currently required via brochure and informational video, the bill would require the information module to contain the following information:
- Contact information of public and private services available to assist, financially or otherwise, a pregnant person during pregnancy;
- Describe and depict, with pictures or video segments, the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of a fetus at two-week gestational increments from fertilization to full term, including:
- brain and heart function;
- the presence and development of external members and internal organs; and
- the dimensions of the fetus;
- show an ultrasound of the heartbeat of a fetus at:
- four weeks from conception;
- six to eight weeks from conception; and
- each month after 10 weeks gestational age, up to 14 weeks gestational age.
- Information regarding “substantial medical evidence” from studies concluding that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks gestation; and
- the measures taken in accordance with state law on the administration of anesthetics;
- explain the options and consequences of aborting a medication-induced abortion;
- include the following statement regarding a medication-induced abortion:
- “Research indicates that mifepristone alone is not always effective in ending a pregnancy. You may still have a viable pregnancy after taking mifepristone. If you have taken mifepristone but have not yet taken the second drug and have questions regarding the health of your fetus or are questioning your decision to terminate your pregnancy, you should consult a physician immediately.”
- inform the pregnant person they have the right to view an ultrasound of the fetus.
The bill would require a staff member of an abortion clinic or hospital to present an information module to a pregnant person seeking an abortion. The pregnant person would be required to view the entire information module and present evidence to the staff member, that they viewed the entire information module.
After receiving such evidence, the staff member would be required to document that the pregnant person viewed the information module and provide the pregnant person (upon their request) with a copy of the documentation. The staff member would also be required to provide a copy to the performing physician, if requested.
The pregnant person would be required to view information module prior to any face-to-face consultation regarding the abortion procedure.
The bill would require a physician to inform the pregnant person seeking an abortion of their right to view an ultrasound of the fetus, at no expense to the pregnant person, upon their request.
The bill would require the health department to maintain a website with the same information as described in the information module.
The department and each local health department would be required to make the information module and the website available at no cost to any person. The website should be available for viewing on the department’s website by clicking on a conspicuous link on the home page of the website.
The department would be required to ensure that the information module is:
- available to be viewed at all facilities where an abortion may be performed;
- interactive for the individual viewing the module, including the provision of opportunities to answer questions and manually engage with the module before the module transitions from one substantive section to the next;
- produced in English and may include subtitles in Spanish or another language; and
- capable of being viewed on a tablet or other portable device.
If the information module or the address to the website is not provided to a pregnant person, the physician who performs the abortion would be required to provide the department with an affidavit that specifies the reason why the information was not provided.
The bill would require the health department to pursue all administrative and legal remedies when the department determines that a physician or a facility has not complied with this provision.
Any violation of this bill would be considered a class A misdemeanor.
The department of health, or any person with knowledge of a physician’s violation, may report such violation to the Physicians Licensing Board. The department may take additional actions against an abortion clinic found to be in violation of this law.
Passed the senate on February 20, 2018, by a 26-1 vote.
Passed the house on March 6, 2018, by a 59-10 vote.
Senate concurred with house amendments on March 5, 2018, by a 21-5 vote.
Signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert (R) on March 19, 2018.
The law took effect on May 8, 2018. Certain exceptions and requirements will take effect later in the year.