Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill banning abortion clinics in Utah on March 15.
The bill prohibits license renewals and licensing of new abortion clinics beginning May 2, 2023. A full ban on abortion clinics will be instituted beginning Jan. 1, 2024.
The bill does not affect hospitals’ and other qualifying medical facilities’ or clinics’ ability to perform abortions.
This bill, HB467 titled “Abortion Changes,” was introduced in the 2023 legislative session on Feb. 14. Following its final pass in congress on March 3, Cox received the bill ten days later on March 13.
Abortion law has sparked much debate in Utah since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. Following the Supreme Court’s decision, Utah’s trigger law came into effect banning all abortions except in cases involving rape, incest and health risks to a mother or fetus.
Following a lawsuit, the trigger law was paused and abortions are legal in the state of Utah up until 18 weeks into a pregnancy.
This newly signed law provoked online conversation, many in favor and many opposed to Utah’s latest abortion legislation.
According to the Utah Office of Vital Records and Statistics, abortions in Utah for Utah residents have been in decline since 1990, with 4,159 reported abortions in 1990 and 2,362 reported abortions in 2020.
Some experts are concerned that by banning abortion clinics abortions could become more difficult to obtain due to hospitals’ higher cost of care and nationwide staffing shortages.