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Judge rules that Utah’s 18-week ban on abortion remains in place while granting another preliminary injunction against “trigger ” law which bans nearly all abortions

by | Jul 12, 2022

By Dave Andrusko

On Monday, a state court judge blocked Utah’s near total ban on abortion, ruling that the law must remain on hold while Planned Parenthood pursues a legal challenge.  SB 174–Utah’s “trigger law”—was passed in 2020. 

“Judge Stone had previously granted a request from Planned Parenthood to stop the trigger law from being enforced for two weeks,” according to Brendan Pierson of Reuters. Yesterday, once the first one expired, Stone granted a longer-term preliminary injunction 

The law briefly went into effect after the Supreme Court on June 24 overturned Roe and Casey

 “[E]nforcement of the law has been blocked since June 27, when 3rd District Judge Andrew Stone granted a temporary request from Planned Parenthood Association of Utah to stop the law from going into effect for two weeks,” Pierson reported.  “When that happened, another law banning abortions in the state after 18 weeks of pregnancy went into place.” 

In granting a preliminary injunction, Judge Stone said, “When you’re talking about a seismic change in women’s health treatment, it’s prudent to look before you leap.”

Of course, the state feels it has looked. “The Utah Constitution does not expressly protect a right to abortion,” according to the state’s memorandum presented last week to Judge Stone. “… Nor does the Utah Constitution protect an implied abortion right.” Pierson writes

According to the filing, “laws prohibiting abortion in Utah are older than the State itself,” and were in place until Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.

Today, Utah’s trigger law does not violate the state constitution, the state argues, and the Legislature passed the law “with one overriding purpose: the protection of human life, rooted in moral conviction about the worth of each unborn child.”

Pierson noted, “Utah was one of 13 states that imposed an immediate ban on abortions under a so-called ‘trigger law’ designed to take effect when the Supreme Court overruled its 1973 precedent in Roe v. Wade recognizing a constitutional right to abortion, which it did on June 24.”

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