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Political Intimidation: The Truth Behind Anti-Abortion Practices

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

The new law being upheld in Utah takes measures when trying to limit a woman’s ability to choose. The law entitled Protecting Unborn Child Amendments is meant to relieve the unborn baby of any pain throughout the duration of the procedure and requires doctors to administer anesthesia to the mothers unnecessarily, which is problematic in more ways than one.

According to an article by Vox, “Thorough reviews of medical evidence reject the idea that fetuses can actually feel pain at 20 weeks…there’s really no such thing as “fetal anesthesia” in standard medical practice…and the law doesn’t specify how doctors are supposed to make it happen.”

Before putting this law into place, it is relatively easy to find out that the fetus is not actually experiencing pain throughout the duration of the procedure and that this type of fetal anesthetic practice is not normal. Furthermore, according to the article by Vox, many doctors would shy away from this type of practice, as “No doctor would give a patient anesthesia who doesn’t need it.”

In light of this, it begs that question, why would this law be put in place to begin with if it does not in fact benefit any party involved?

It begins with Senator Curt Bramble, who, according to an article by The Salt Lake Tribune, is the man arguing that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks of gestation with no prior medical experience and is also the man who tried to ban abortions following the 20-week mark, but failed.

Unfortunately, it ends with Bramble’s proven success as Utah’s governor, Gary Herbert, signed the bill into law on Monday, March 28.

The middle is paved with politics that are trying to box women into corners in an attempt to slowly chip away at their ability to choose. Although, according to that same article by The Salt Lake Tribune, Bramble was told taking away abortions after the 20-week period would be unconstitutional, that still seems to be his end game.

“The law could amount to a “de facto” ban on abortions at 20 weeks or later, because no doctor would give a patient anesthesia who doesn’t need it,” according to Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, who was quoted in the article by Vox.

This realization is troubling as it only becomes more clear and obvious the true intentions of politicians like Senator Bramble, which is to take away a woman’s right to decide what happens to her body.

What makes the true intentions here even more obvious is a statement made by Dr. Anne Davis, the medical director for Physicians for Reproductive Health and a practicing abortion provider according to an article by The Guardian, “It’s a head-scratcher as a doctor, because we don’t even know how to follow this law…the law says we have to give anesthesia to the fetus because the fetus might feel pain,” it states, “OK, how do you address a concern that is purely theoretical?”

She is right; this theory is not medically proven and in fact has a plentiful amount of evidence showing that it is in fact not true, yet a law was just put into place based on it and we are all sitting here and wondering, why?

The why is absolutely obvious and it is because politicians want to make abortions complicated, for doctors, for patients, for everyone involved. If abortions are made more complicated, it is likely that less people would want to get them and less doctors would want to perform them and this excites politicians like Bramble.

However, we as a society need to recognize these patterns and notice larger trends taking hold of our society and trapping certain groups in nets of confusing politics and rhetoric.

This is a trend that has, unfortunately, been plaguing our society in recent months especially with the development of laws such as these and the recent attempts to defund Planned Parenthood.

For example, another law that was recently put in place in Indiana, according to an article by Think Progress, “includes several provisions that fit into a larger strategy to shame women for the reasons they may decide to end a pregnancy.” Our society’s use of political intimidation and fear cultivates the continued stigma towards abortions and continues to limit women’s reproductive rights.

With the continued development of laws that are backhandedly taking away a woman’s option to receive an abortion, it brings about this pertinent question: to what end will our society go to box women into corners? 

Temple University Student | Journalism Major
Kaitlin is an alumna of Temple University where she graduated with a B.A. in Journalism and a minor in Political Science. At Temple, she served as Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Temple and was a founding member and former Public Relations Vice President for the Iota Chi chapter of Alpha Xi Delta.  She currently serves Her Campus Media as a Region Leader and Chapter Advisor and was formally a Feature Writer for Fashion, Beauty and Health.