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Hearing scheduled in lawsuit challenging Utah's new 18-week abortion ban

By Dennis Romboy, KSL | Posted - Apr. 15, 2019 at 12:19 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge has scheduled a hearing for Thursday on the legal challenge to Utah's new law banning abortion after 18 weeks of pregnancy.

The Planned Parenthood of Utah sued the state last week, arguing the ban is unconstitutional and that no fetus is viable at 18 weeks. The lawsuit seeks to block the law from taking effect May 14 while the case proceeds.

The bill originally set the limit for legal abortions at 15-weeks gestation, but it was revised to 18 weeks before the Republican-controlled Legislature passed it largely along party lines.

While the law shortens the legal abortion window, it maintains a woman's right to have an elective abortion, allowing exceptions for rape, incest, life or permanent impairment of the mother, and fatal fetal defects or severe brain abnormality.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups set a status conference, a hearing that typically lays out a schedule in the case and sets a timeline for submitting evidence and arguments.

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