Understanding the Ongoing Litigation for Abortion Care in Utah

On August 8, the Utah Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the injunction blocking the trigger ban should be upheld. Read our FAQ to understand our ongoing litigation for abortion care in Utah.

What is the history behind the August 8 Utah Supreme Court hearing?

Soon after the June 2022 decision overturning Roe v Wade, a Utah state court issued a “preliminary injunction” to prevent the state from enforcing its “trigger ban,” which would have ended almost all abortion care in the state. The injunction has remained in place while the litigation continued. On August 8, the Utah Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the injunction blocking the trigger ban should be upheld.

Is abortion legal in Utah? 

Yes. Abortion is currently legal in Utah up to 18 weeks of pregnancy and available at Planned Parenthood Association of Utah health centers

Who are the plaintiffs and defendants in the case?

The plaintiffs are the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah (PPAU) on behalf of itself and its patients, physicians, and staff. The defendant is the State of Utah. PPAU is represented by our legal counsel at Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the ACLU of Utah, the ACLU’s State Supreme Court Initiative, and the Utah law firm Zimmerman Booher. The Utah Attorney General’s office and the law firm Consovoy McCarthy PLLC represent the state.

What are the main arguments for protecting abortion care in Utah?

PPAU and the ACLU of Utah have argued that the “trigger ban,” which outlaws almost all abortion care, violates the Utah Constitution, which ensures equal protection under the law and protects pregnant Utahns’ rights to determine when and whether to have a family and what happens with their own bodies and lives.

Why did it take a year for the case to get to the Utah Supreme Court?

While the preliminary injunction blocking the “trigger ban” was up on appeal, the Utah Legislature passed another law in 2023 called the “clinic ban,” which would also have functionally eliminated abortion care in the state, even as the “trigger ban” remained blocked. On May 2, 2023, a Utah court blocked the “clinic ban” with another preliminary injunction. With both Utah abortion bans blocked by injunctions, the Utah Supreme Court decided to hear the state’s challenge to the first injunction.

Who sits on the Utah Supreme Court?

There are five justices on the Utah Supreme Court. Justices are nominated by the Governor and approved by the State Senate.

When will the Utah Supreme Court decide on the “trigger ban”?

The justices won’t decide on the day of the hearing, and the Utah Supreme Court does not follow a standard timetable for reaching decisions. We expect a decision within a few months after the hearing.

What happens if the Court decides to remove the injunction?

If the Court removes the injunction against the “trigger ban,” the law will go into effect and abortion care will be almost eliminated in Utah.

How can I watch the hearing?

You can also watch the court hearing by clicking “Supreme Court Live Stream.”