Utah Officials Want Judge to Lift Hold on Partial-Birth Abortion Ban

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 8, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Utah Officials Want Judge to Lift Hold on Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
May 8
, 2007

Salt Lake City, UT (LifeNews.com) — The partial-birth abortion ban the Utah legislature approved three years ago has been on hold because of the Supreme Court’s previous ruling saying such bans were unconstitutional. However, with the recent decision affirming their constitutionality, the state’s attorney general wants the ban in place.

The Utah Attorney General’s Office filed a motion in U.S. District Court on Monday asking that the ban be validated. It asks that the injunction be lifted and that the state’s partial-birth abortion ban be immediately enforced.

The Utah legislature approved the ban, SB 69, by lopsided bipartisan margins in both chambers and former Gov. Olene Walker signed the bill into law only on the understanding that it wouldn’t be enforced because of the high court’s ruling.

Following Walker’s signature, the Utah Women’s Clinic abortion business and the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah took the law to court. A federal judge issued an injunction and the lawsuit ended at that point.

"In order for the court to consider anything, we had to reopen it," Assistant Utah Attorney General Jerrold Jensen told the Deseret News about the case.

He said the Utah ban is similar to the one the Supreme Court upheld and he expects little problem in getting it in place.

The speed with which the law will go on the books depends on whether the abortion advocates challenge the motion Jensen filed. If they do not, the ban would take effect immediately.

At the time the Utah suit was filed, Karrie Galloway, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Utah, told the Associated Press, “We are asking for an injunction until three challenges to a mirror federal ban make it through the courts. We can’t let a law that’s enjoined nationally go into effect here.”

Sen. Curt Bramble (R), the lead sponsor of the legislation, said years ago that he thought the state ban should be upheld if the federal one got a green light from the Supreme Court.

“If the federal law is upheld, you’d expect our bill to be upheld equally,” Bramble told a Salt Lake newspaper.

In a partial-birth abortion, a child is partly delivered, then killed. A number of doctors say the gruesome practice, in which a baby’s skull is punctured, borders on infanticide.

According to figures from the Utah Health Department, about 3,300 abortions are performed in the state each year. Most of them occur at Utah Women’s Clinic, which also attempts to attract women from surrounding states through its advertising campaign.