This is some wackjob Handmaids Tale bullshit.
This is some wackjob Handmaid's Tale bullshit. KittisakJirasittichai

Welcome to peak junk science and grown-lady-infantilizing: Utah's governor just signed into law a bill that requires women undergoing abortions at 20 weeks* to have anesthesia.

Now, sometimes a local or general anesthetic is used in abortion procedures—like, you know, if the patient who is having the abortion REQUESTS IT, it's already available, no junk law needed!—but this new anesthesia rule? It's not for the woman. It's intended for the fetus, because apparently while arguments that fetuses feel pain aren't supported by science, they're good enough to justify invasive laws! But because you can't just give a fetus anesthesia, because hello, that is the thing about pregnancy, this law would likely translate to women being mandated to have general anesthesia during a procedure that doesn't require it.

As anyone who's ever had to have general anesthesia can attest, it is not something you fuck with unless it's absolutely necessary. General anesthesia adds risk to any surgery, and requiring women to go under for an abortion is kind of like mandating general anesthesia for colonoscopies (which, BTW, have a HIGHER rate of complication than abortion). In other words, tacking medically unnecessary general anesthesia onto abortion actually makes a low-risk procedure less safe. What an an odd, pointless thing to require, unless, lol, you hate women?


*This is where I remind you that most abortions—89 percent—take place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Abortions that take place after 20 weeks are often due to heartbreaking circumstances involving fetal abnormalities or health concerns for the woman. They often involve wanted pregnancies. If you're still like IDK seems morally wrong, please read this interview with a doctor who performs third-trimester abortions. You will cry, for none of the reasons that Mike Huckabee would hope for.

From the New York Times' coverage, here's one absurdly terrible outcome this law may have—added risk for women who WANT to be pregnant:

Dr. David Turok of the University of Utah’s obstetrics and gynecology department said the new law could apply to instances in which a woman is past her due date and her doctor induces labor, or when there is a problem with the pregnancy, such as pre-eclampsia, making it safer to deliver the baby early. These common procedures could now require general anesthesia, he said.

“You never give those medicines if you don’t have to,” Dr. Turok said.

Let me be clear: This is some wackjob Handmaid's Tale bullshit, and a classic example of deeply misogynistic legislation passed under the dubious mantle of pretend science. This is what it means to take the name of science in vain. It's enough to make one want to spend the rest of the working day fully saturated in whiskey with an IUD garnish.


But Megan, you say, Yes, this is terrible. But why should I be freaked out? I don't live in Utah, I live in the great state of Oregon, where abortion is comparatively highly accessible and you can get a 12-month supply of birth control covered by your insurance and birth control pills OTC, and everyone I know either has an IUD or is thinking about getting one! And anyway, this bill will surely be challenged!

And you're right.

But remember how noted misogynist and alleged rapist Donald Trump is running for president? His misogyny is what's allowed him to hold sway with conservative evangelical voters, a voting bloc that's often a driving force behind nonsense legislation like Utah's. Trump has straight-up said that women who have abortions should be punished, in what reads as very clear pandering to this particular segment of his base. This is why I can't deal with the "if [insert Democratic presidential candidate name here] doesn't get the nomination I'm sitting this one out" line of reasoning. I don't care who you're rooting for in the primaries right now, you do you. But come November, as they say in the Hunger Games, remember who the real enemy is.