SALT LAKE CITY, March 21 (UPI) -- Women seeking an abortion in Utah will have to wait 72 hours before a doctor can perform the procedure under a bill signed Tuesday by Gov. Gary Herbert.
The measure, which is to take effect May 7, calls for the longest waiting period of any U.S. state, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. South Dakota passed a similar law but it is tied up in the courts, the newspaper noted.
"The governor is an adamant supporter of rights for the unborn and felt the bill appropriately allows a woman facing such a decision time to fully weigh her options, as well as the implications of the decision," gubernatorial spokeswoman Ally Isom said. "We believe a court will find that 72 hours for a waiting period is not an undue burden."
Marina Lowe, an attorney with the Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said her group's "major concern overall is just simply that this is quite extreme to go to 72 hours and makes the starting point the assumption -- which we think is wrong -- that women aren't thinking about this decision."
Under the law, a woman would have to wait 72 hours after a face-to-face consultation informing her how the fetus grows and providing information about alternatives such as adoption. A provision allows women to receive the initial consultation at a location apart from the clinic where the abortion would be performed, an attempt to avoid the woman having to make two trips.
Utah has four abortion providers, all in Salt Lake County.