Most women seeking an abortion were not deterred by a Utah law requiring a 72-hour waiting period before having the procedure, according to a recent study by the University of California, San Francisco.
The 2012 law requires a 72-hour waiting period and at least two medical visits before an abortion. It was the first such law in the nation, and researchers found that it added financial costs and increased logistical hassles and anxiety for the women.
Most women were certain in their decision to have an abortion, so the law was “unnecessary,” researchers said. It would be more appropriate to offer individual counseling for the women who were conflicted about the decision, they said.
“The policy just created hardship for the women, most of whom had already made decision to have an abortion,” said lead author Sarah Roberts, assistant professor at UCSF and the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health. “I’m a researcher, and I believe policy should be based available evidence. I hope policymakers considering waiting periods in their states will pay attention to these findings.”
Four other states, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and North Carolina, enacted 72-hour requirements. Twenty-seven states have shorter waiting periods and 13 states require two visits before having an abortion, the study noted.