Utah Legislature Passes Bill Banning All Abortion Clinics

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 3, 2023   |   1:10PM   |   Salt Lake City, Utah

A bill to ban abortion facilities in Utah passed the state legislature Thursday by an overwhelming majority.

After the Utah Senate voted 22-6, the bill now heads to Gov. Spencer Cox, a pro-life Republican, who said he supports the bill, the Associated Press reports.

Sponsored by state Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, House Bill 467 prohibits abortion facilities from operating in Utah starting in 2024 and prohibits state authorities from granting licenses to abortion facilities after May 2. It also requires abortions that are allowed under the law to be performed in hospitals, and allows doctors who abort unborn babies in violation of state laws to face discipline for unprofessional conduct.

Lisonbee recently said her legislation “strikes the very best balance of protecting innocent life and protecting women who experience rare and dangerous circumstances.”

Utah also has a trigger law that bans killing unborn babies in abortions except in cases of rape, incest, fatal fetal anomalies or emergency situations when the mother’s life is at risk. However, a court recently blocked it at the request of Planned Parenthood. Unborn babies still are being aborted up to 18 weeks in the state as the lawsuit proceeds.

ACTION ALERT: Action: Contact Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and urge him to sign the bill.

Currently, Utah has four abortion facilities, including the Wasatch Women’s Center in Salt Lake City and three Planned Parenthoods. According to the report, the four facilities did almost all of the 2,818 abortions in the state last year.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports the governor expressed support for Lisonbee’s bill in February, describing it as a “cleanup” of the 2020 abortion ban.

Along with banning abortion facilities, the bill also requires doctors to provide information about perinatal hospice and palliative care to pregnant mothers whose unborn babies have been diagnosed with a fatal condition. It also prohibits abortions after 18 weeks in cases of rape and incest.

“This bill puts Utah in a good place,” said Mary Taylor, the president of Pro-Life Utah.

However, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union have threatened to sue if the bill becomes law, according to the Tribune.

During a press conference Wednesday, Brittney Nystrom, the executive director of the ACLU of Utah, said they are “taking a close look at laws that restrict rights and freedoms of individuals and in making decisions on whether to continue those challenges in court.”

Meanwhile, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes is fighting court to enforce the trigger law and protect the lives of unborn babies.

Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Julia Payne told LifeNews that her organization filed a friend-of-the-court brief in December with the Utah Supreme Court in the case, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. State of Utah, on behalf of Utah Eagle Forum.

“Utah is eager to affirm that life is a human right and, to that end, the state has enacted a pro-life law protecting that most fundamental of rights for the unborn,” Payne said. “Pro-life laws like Utah’s also help women by ensuring they have the support they need during a difficult time in their lives. Women deserve access to real health care, not the dangerous and unnecessary procedures Planned Parenthood peddles to make a profit. We are pleased to join in supporting Utah’s effort to protect the lives of unborn children and mothers and urge the state’s high court to reverse the trial court’s injunction halting Utah’s pro-life law.”

If they succeed, Utah would join 14 other states that protect unborn babies by banning or strictly limiting abortions. Pro-life leaders estimate these laws already have saved thousands of unborn babies’ lives.

ACTION ALERT: Action: Contact Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and urge him to sign the bill.