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SALT LAKE CITY — The Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would punish health care providers who fail to show an explanatory module to a patient before they get an abortion.
The Senate passed SB118 with a vote of 26 to 1 after no questions for sponsor Sen. Todd Weiler were posed during floor debate. The bill will now be considered in the House of Representatives.
Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, cast the only dissenting vote.
Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said earlier this legislative session that he was "shocked" to learn there was no enforcement provision outlined in existing Utah code to ensure abortion providers give patients information that they are required to.
As already outlined in Utah law, patients must be given information that indicates "adoption as a preferred and positive choice and alternative to abortion," that outlines "the possible detrimental psychological effects of abortion" and describes "the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of an unborn child at two-week gestational increments from fertilization to full term," among several other requirements.
Weiler's bill would make it a class A misdemeanor for a health care provider to report that the information was seen by the patient, when in reality it wasn't, he has said.
He has also said the information module provided for in the bill replaces a decades-old video that was used for the same purpose. The measure likewise lessens the burden on health care providers who disagree with the information they're obligated to present, by moving some of the mandated explanations to the module rather than requiring they be done face to face, according to Weiler.
Under Utah law, the information must be presented at least 72 hours before a woman undergoes an abortion.