Abortion remains legal up to 18 weeks of pregnancy and accessible at licensed clinics in the state.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, MAY 2, 2023
Salt Lake City, UT – Today, the Third Judicial District Court for Salt Lake County, Utah blocked the implementation of H.B. 467 — a new law that would functionally eliminate access to abortion in the state starting May 3 — by granting abortion providers’ request for a preliminary injunction. Among other provisions, H.B. 467 bans abortion care from being provided anywhere but at a hospital, even though abortion remains legal up until 18 weeks of pregnancy. Because licensed clinics rather than hospitals provide over 95% of abortions in Utah, and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah health centers are not presently licensed as hospitals, this law amounts to a functional abortion ban across the state.
In today’s ruling, the court found that the law likely violates the Utah Constitution by banning abortion at licensed abortion clinics but allowing it at hospitals, because outpatient clinics provide abortion care just as safely and at far lower cost than hospitals.
Statement from Sarah Stoesz, interim president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah:
“The court’s decision today allows people in Utah to breathe a huge sigh of relief. It means that clinics can continue providing essential health care to our patients, who for months have lived in a state of chaos and confusion over the impact of this law on their lives. It is obvious to everyone that H.B. 467 is an abortion ban that will threaten women’s lives and the well-being of families. H.B. 467 is not just a ‘clean-up bill’ — it would force Planned Parenthood health centers and other providers to turn away those seeking legal health care that we are trained and ready to provide. While we welcome this victory, the threat to Utahns’ health and personal freedom remains dire as politicians continue to undermine our judicial process and fight the injunction against Utah’s trigger ban. Despite these unconscionable attacks, we will continue to defend Utahns’ lives, their access to health care, and their constitutionally guaranteed rights, no matter what.”
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“We are grateful that the court has blocked this extremely harmful law and granted much-needed relief to Utahns in need of abortion care before it took effect. Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court opened the floodgates and anti-abortion politicians have raced to restrict reproductive freedom in Utah and across the country — even if it means undermining judicial processes. Planned Parenthood stands with Utah health centers as they continue fighting to provide essential abortion care.”
Statement from John Mejia, Legal Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah Foundation, Inc:
"Today's ruling is a triumph for all Utahns' civil rights and liberties. The Court affirmed that the legislature does not have unfettered power to eliminate reproductive care provided in a safe, positive environment and enforced meaningful limits on state power over our health care choices. Our fight continues for all Utahns through this paramount case.”
The supplemental complaint against H.B. 467 was filed as part of PPAU’s existing lawsuit against the state’s trigger ban law, which would have banned nearly all abortions if not enjoined by the district court last summer.
PPAU is represented by lawyers at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, American Civil Liberties Union of Utah Foundation Inc., and Zimmerman Booher.
A copy of the court’s order can be found here.