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Planned Parenthood seeks to stop Utah's abortion 'trigger law'

Protesters march from Washington Square Park to the Capitol in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in Salt Lake City on Friday. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit Saturday to stop the Utah law that bans abortions with few exceptions.

Protesters march from Washington Square Park to the Capitol in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in Salt Lake City on Friday. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit Saturday to stop the Utah law that bans abortions with few exceptions. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Planned Parenthood Association of Utah filed a lawsuit on Saturday to stop the Utah law that bans abortions with few exceptions.

On Friday, the Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that the U.S. Constitution does not provide a right to abortion, overturning Roe v. Wade.

"We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives," Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the ruling.

Following the Supreme Court decision, the Utah Legislature's general counsel determined the state's 2020 trigger ban meets the legal requirements to go into effect.

The trigger ban, SB174, states that abortions in Utah are legal if the mother's life is at risk, if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest, or if two physicians who practice "maternal fetal medicine" both determine that the fetus "has a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal or ... has a severe brain abnormality that is uniformly diagnosable."

Planned Parenthood's lawsuit claims that SB174 is harmful to women who "are already struggling to pull their children out of poverty, finish school, escape an abusive partner, or overcome addiction; sexual assault survivors who, as is common, do not report their assault to law enforcement; and, families grieving fetal diagnoses that they know they are ill-equipped to cope with."

Further, the lawsuit states that Utah's ban on most abortions will cause Utahns to "lose the right to determine the composition of their families and whether and when to become parents," including losing the right to bodily autonomy.

Planned Parenthood says that as a result of the trigger ban, appointments for roughly a dozen woman to receive a scheduled abortion were cancelled. Another 55 abortion appointments set for next week were also canceled, Planned Parenthood says.

Planned Parenthood also stated on Saturday its intention to request a temporary restraining order against the Utah law that bans abortion at any point in pregnancy.

The lawsuit names the state of Utah, Gov. Spencer Cox, state attorney general Sean D. Reyes and Mark B. Steinagel, the director of the Utah Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing.

Prior to the lawsuit being filed by Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, Cox tweeted that he and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson "wholeheartedly support" the Supreme Court ruling.

On Friday evening, thousands of Utahns rallied in the streets of Salt Lake City and at the state capitol to protest the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe.

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Matt Brooks is a web producer with KSL.com. He previously worked for KSL NewsRadio.

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