Planned Parenthood of Utah is suing to block state’s abortion ban

The Planned Parenthood Association of Utah filed a lawsuit Saturday to block the state’s ban on abortion, imposed after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Repeal Wade came into effect.

Utah has banned abortion except in cases of rape, incest and to save the woman’s life, and became one of eight states with an abortion ban that went into effect on Friday after the court overturned the constitutional right to abortion. Several more bans are expected to come into effect in the coming days and weeks.

The Utah lawsuit argues that the state’s ban violates several provisions of the state constitution, including the right to determine family composition and the right to gender equality.

The Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, which it says provides medical care to about 46,000 people each year at eight health centers, is also seeking a restraining order and an injunction to prevent the ban from being implemented.

“In a terrible moment, Roe v. Wade fell, and the power of Utahns to control their own bodies, lives, and personal medical decisions was threatened,” said Karrie Galloway, president and executive director of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, in a statement.

The ban allows abortions for rape or incest to avert death or “serious risk” of impairment of a bodily function in a pregnant woman, or when two doctors find the fetus has a “uniformly fatal” defect.

In the lawsuit, filed in the Third Judicial District Court for Salt Lake County, Planned Parenthood said it would have to halt abortions immediately after the ban went into effect and cancel 55 abortion appointments scheduled for next week unless temporary relief was granted.

The organization said forced pregnancies would have “dramatic, negative” effects on families’ financial stability and that in 2021, 45 percent of its abortion patients reported earning less than 130 percent of the federal poverty line.

The defendants include Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and Governor Spencer Cox. Mr Cox said in a statement on Friday that he “wholeheartedly” supports the Supreme Court’s decision.

The attorney general’s office declined to comment and the governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, which also alleged that the ban violated Utah’s constitutional protections of privacy, physical integrity, involuntary servitude and the violate religious freedom.

The Planned Parenthood Association of Utah said that at the time the lawsuit was filed, the three closest abortion clinics were more than 200 miles from Salt Lake City in Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado.

The lawsuit warned that abortion bans would go into effect in both Idaho and Wyoming in the near future.

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