Utah passes 'fetal pain' abortion law requiring anesthesia

Story highlights

  • Utah governor who is "adamantly pro-life" signed bill into law
  • The law applies to women who are 20 weeks along, or further in pregnancy
  • Law hinges on medically unproven theory of fetal pain; critics say it is intended to erode access to abortion

(CNN)Utah will now require doctors to provide anesthesia to women having abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later.

The law, which experts say is the first of its kind in the nation, is based on the scientifically disputed notion that a fetus can feel pain during the procedure.
"The governor is adamantly pro-life," said a statement from Gov. Gary Herbert's office. "He believes in not only erring on the side of life, but also minimizing any pain that may be caused to an unborn child."