Utah is one of 13 states in the country with “trigger bans” designed to ban abortion if deer were to fall. The state’s ban went into effect Friday night, after its legislative general counsel certified the Supreme Court’s decision.
Although the lawsuit to block the ban was filed the next day, Karrie Galloway, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah (PPAU), said the organization had planned a lawsuit long before the ruling. the Supreme Court.
“We’ve been warned for a while,” Galloway told The Washington Post. “We have been warned since the last administration shoved its way into three court appointments. We knew what the writing was on the walls.
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Utah’s trigger ban, which the legislature passed in 2020, prohibits abortions with limited exceptions, such as if the procedure is necessary to prevent the death of a pregnant person or if a person is pregnant at birth. as a result of incest or rape.
With the law in place, the PPAU said in its court filing that it had canceled the abortions of a dozen patients on Saturday. The organization has three health clinics licensed to provide abortion services, according to Galloway.
“We couldn’t help them today,” she said. “And next week people are going to face the same thing if we don’t get a temporary restraining order and suspend this law.”
A person convicted of violating the trigger law can face one to 15 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
According to the lawsuit, the state ban harms people in trouble, including poverty, drug addiction and abusive relationships.
“If left in place, the criminal ban on abortion will be catastrophic for Utahns,” the document states. “The law will force some Utahns seeking abortions to carry pregnancies to term against their will, with all the physical, emotional and financial costs that this entails.”
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In addition to naming the state, PPAU has listed Gov. Spencer Cox (R), Attorney General Sean Reyes (R) and Business and Professional Licensing Division Director Mark Steinagel as defendants in the lawsuit.
In a statement to the Salt Lake Tribune on Friday, Reyes said the Supreme Court’s decision was “clear,” adding that he would be prepared to defend the trigger law against legal action.
“He sent the issue of abortion back to the states. And the Utah Legislature has answered that question,” Reyes said in the statement. “My office will do its duty to defend state law against any potential legal challenges.”
Richard Piatt, Reyes’ communications director, said the attorney general’s office had no comment on Saturday night.
Cox and Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson (right) said in a statement Friday that they “fully support” the Supreme Court’s decision.
“As advocates for life, this administration is also committed to supporting the women and families of Utah,” the joint statement read. “We all need to do more to support mothers, pregnant women and children facing poverty and trauma.”
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Saturday night.
Attorneys from Salt Lake City-based Zimmerman Booher, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the ACLU of Utah will represent PPAU in this case.
Valentina De Fex, senior attorney for the ACLU of Utah, said in a statement that the organization is proud to continue “the fight for reproductive justice” in the state.
“The fight to preserve abortion access is unfortunately not new to Utahns,” De Fex’s statement said. “Yesterday’s decision by the United States Supreme Court was devastating. Yet it has not eroded the rights that exist under our state constitution to make decisions about whether and when to become a parent.