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Planned Parenthood of Utah files lawsuit, asking court to declare state abortion ban unconstitutional

The suit seeks a temporary restraining order against the state’s abortion ban, which went into effect Friday.

(Chris Samuels | The Salt Lake Tribune) People gather for a rally in defense of abortion rights after the Capitol, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court on Friday overturned Roe v. Wade, overriding the federal abortion law.

The Planned Parenthood Association of Utah has filed a lawsuit to block Utah’s abortion trigger law, the organization announced on Saturday.

Utah’s trigger law, banning abortions in the state, went into effect Friday night after the U.S. Supreme Court announced its reversal of Roe v. Wade, the nearly 50-year-old ruling that protected a woman’s right to an abortion. The lawsuit asks the court to declare invalid the state abortion ban, alleging that it violates the rights granted to Utahns in the state constitution.

The lawsuit — filed for Planned Parenthood of Utah by attorneys from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Salt Lake City law firm Zimmerman Booher and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah — also asks that the court grant an order temporary restraining order prohibiting state employees from administering and enforcing the ban with respect to any abortions scheduled during the injunctions.

“In a terrible moment, Roe v. Wade was overturned, and the power of Utahns to control their own bodies, lives and personal medical decisions was threatened,” said Karrie Galloway, president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, in a press release. Release. “Yesterday’s decision was devastating, but Planned Parenthood will never stop standing up for and defending the rights of our patients and providers. Not now, never.

Utah’s trigger law was passed by the state legislature in 2020 and prohibits abortion statewide except in these limited circumstances:

• If it “is necessary to avoid death” or if there is “a serious risk of substantial and irreversible damage to a major bodily function” of the pregnant woman.

• “Two physicians who practice maternal-fetal medicine agree that the fetus has a uniformly diagnosable and uniformly fatal abnormality” or “has a severe cerebral abnormality that is uniformly diagnosable”. According to the law, this does not include Down syndrome, spina bifida, cerebral palsy or any condition “that does not cause an individual to live in a mentally vegetative state”.

• The pregnancy was caused by rape or incest. Before performing an abortion, the doctor should verify that the rape or incest has been reported to law enforcement or the competent authorities.

The lawsuit alleges that the Trigger Law violates Utah’s constitution in seven ways: under the right to determine family composition and parenthood; the right to equal protection; the right to the uniform application of laws; the right to bodily integrity; conscience rights; the right to privacy; and the prohibition of involuntary servitude.

Planned Parenthood says that with no legal abortion in the state, about 2,800 Utahnnes will face a “government-mandated trilemma” each year: either stay pregnant “against their will” or stay pregnant until later. whether they can secure resources to obtain out-of-state abortion services, or attempt to “self-manage” an abortion outside of the medical system, according to court documents.

The lawsuit also explains that without legal redress, at least 55 Utahns will not be able to obtain abortion care in Utah this week. On Saturday, according to the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood canceled about a dozen appointments for patients who had scheduled abortions.

“The lawsuit explains that the Utah Constitution protects the rights of pregnant Utahns to determine when and if they have families, and to determine what happens to their own bodies and lives,” Planned Parenthood said in its statement. Press. “The lawsuit makes it clear that the rights promised under the Utah Constitution are broader than those under federal law and are unaffected by the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.”

Mary Cashion

The author Mary Cashion