Planned Parenthood & ACLU file lawsuit over Utah’s abortion trigger law

SALT LAKE CITY — On Saturday Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Utah filed a lawsuit that seeks to block Utah’s trigger law that officially banned elective abortions statewide with few exceptions on Friday. The state law punishes violators with up to 15 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

The lawsuit, filed in Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court, argues that the trigger law is unconstitutional. They are seeking a restraining order in an effort to stop it from being enforced.

An emergency hearing over the lawsuit has been scheduled for 3 p.m. on Monday.

The lawsuit says that Planned Parenthood had to cancel a dozen abortion appointments on Friday as a result of the new law. 55 additional abortions that were scheduled for next week have also been canceled.

Gov. Spencer Cox, Attorney General Sean Reyes, and the head of Utah’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing are listed as defendants.

The Supreme Court’s decision on Friday pushed the abortion issue to the states — meaning this lawsuit will be fought on the state level, with the potential to reach the Utah Supreme Court.

“Utahns harmed by this extreme abortion ban will include women who seek care just days or weeks after discovering a missed period; those who are already struggling to pull their children out of poverty, finish school, escape an abusive partner, or overcome addiction; sexual assault survivors who, as is common, do not report their assault to law enforcement; and families grieving fetal diagnoses that they know they are ill-equipped to cope with,” the lawsuit states.

“In each of these cases, and countless others, Utahns who have relied on safe, legal access to abortion—access that has existed for at least five decades—will lose the right to determine the composition of their families and whether and when to become parents; their entitlement to be free from discriminatory state laws that perpetuate stereotypes about women and their proper societal role; the right to bodily autonomy and to be free from involuntary servitude; and the right to make private health care decisions and to keep those health care decisions free from public scrutiny.”

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