Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Utah abortion ban

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A crowd of people gather outside the Supreme Court, early Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in Washington. A draft opinion circulated among Supreme Court justices suggests that earlier this year a majority of them had thrown support behind overturning the 1973 case Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a report published Monday night in Politico. It’s unclear if the draft represents the court’s final word on the matter. The Associated Press could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the draft Politico posted, which if verified marks a shocking revelation of the high court’s secretive deliberation process, particularly before a case is formally decided. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Planned Parenthood of Utah and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah have filed a lawsuit over a state law banning nearly all abortions, contending it violates the state constitution.

The organizations filed the lawsuit over Utah’s trigger law in state court on Saturday. The trigger law, passed in 2020, automatically went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark abortion rights case Roe v. Wade on Friday.

In the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood says the law violates the Utah constitution, which “serves as an independent source of rights for Utahns.”

The law bans abortions except to avert death or irreversible impairment to the pregnant person. Utah’s law also allows abortions in some cases where the fetus has a “severe brain abnormality” or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, if a doctor has verified the incident was reported to police.

Under the law, anyone found guilty of performing an abortion could face up to 15 years in prison.

“If left in place, the Criminal Abortion Ban will be catastrophic for Utahns,” Planned Parenthood and the ACLU wrote in the lawsuit. “The Act will force some Utahns seeking abortion to instead carry pregnancies to term against their will, with all of the physical, emotional, and financial costs that entails.”

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, at least 55 Utahns will not be able to get abortion care in Utah this week.

“In one terrible moment, Roe v. Wade was overturned, and Utahns’ power to control their own bodies, lives, and personal medical decisions was threatened,” said Karrie Galloway, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, in a 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.”

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