Planned Parenthood files lawsuit in Utah to block trigger ban

Stock image | Photo by Unaihuiziphotography/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah filed a lawsuit in Utah state court Saturday and will soon request a temporary restraining order against the state’s ban on abortion at any point in pregnancy, according to a press release issued by the association.

In this file photo, a person supporting Planned Parenthood looks on during Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s town hall meeting at Brighton High School in Cottonwood Heights, Utah on Feb. 9, 2017 | Photo by Rick Bowmer/Associated Press, St. George News

The law, passed as Senate Bill 174 by the Utah State Legislature in 2020, took effect late yesterday.

The lawsuit explains that the Utah Constitution protects pregnant Utahns’ rights to determine when and whether to have a family and to determine what happens with their own bodies and lives. The suit makes clear that the rights promised under the Utah Constitution are more expansive than those under federal law and remain unaffected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision.

The lawsuit explains that without emergency court relief, at least 55 Utahns will not be able to get the abortion care they need in Utah this week.

“Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court eliminated a federal constitutional right. In one terrible moment, Roe v. Wade was overturned, and Utahns’ power to control their own bodies, lives, and personal medical decisions was threatened,” Karrie Galloway, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said in the news release. “Yesterday’s decision was devastating, but Planned Parenthood will never stop standing with and fighting for the rights of our patients and providers. Not now, not ever.”

Should the trigger ban remain in effect, thousands of Utahns will be forced to either carry an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy to term or travel out of state to obtain abortion care, the news release adds. The law includes only narrow exceptions, and its exception for sexual assault survivors forces the disclosure of patients’ personal information to law enforcement as a condition of care.

In addition to banning abortion, the law would also criminalize health care providers, threatening arrest and criminal fines for providing abortion care.

Planned Parenthood of Utah is represented by attorneys at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Zimmerman Booher, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah.

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