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Utah Governor Signs 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period Bill

Utah’s Republican Governor Gary Herbert signed legislation extending a required waiting period for women seeking an abortion to 72 hours, one of a number of measures to curb abortions advancing in state legislatures.

“He felt the bill appropriately allows a woman facing such a decision time to fully weigh her options and the implications of that decision,” the governor’s communications director, Ally Isom, said today in an interview.

Two weeks earlier, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell approved a new requirement that women undergo an ultrasound at least 24 hours before having an abortion. Lawmakers in Idaho are considering similar legislation even as a poll by Quinnipiac University shows the measure is unpopular in Virginia.

Virginia voters disagree with the law by 52 to 41 percent, according to the poll released today. Seventy-two percent said the government shouldn’t make laws that try to persuade women seeking an abortion to change their minds.

The poll, conducted March 13-18 among 1,034 registered voters, also showed the Virginia legislature’s approval rating fell to 38 percent from 47 percent on Feb. 9. McDonnell’s approval rating fell to 53 percent from 58 percent in the February poll.

Last year five states approved ultrasound mandates, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit group that backs reproductive and abortion rights. Laws in North Carolina and Texas, which required ultrasound technicians to show images to the woman and describe them to her, were blocked by federal courts.

The other three measures, in Arizona, Florida and Kansas, are in effect. In total 1,100 bills seeking to curb reproductive rights were proposed in the U.S. last year, according to Guttmacher.

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