Supreme Court ruling likely to change Utah abortion law

Posted at 6:08 PM, Jun 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-27 20:13:39-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The smiles at the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah told the story.

“Today is an incredible day for women’s health care, for reproductive health care,” said Carrie Galloway, CEO of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.

The U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Whole Women’s Health vs Hellerstedt has implications for women and women’s health clinics around the United States, with broader implications in Utah than in most states.

In a 5-3 decision, the Court struck down a Texas law requiring clinics providing abortions to meet the standards of an outpatient surgery center, and it required doctors providing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. The restrictions had the effect of shutting down the majority of abortion providers in the Lone Star State.

The Court sided with the plaintiffs, who argued the restrictions did not solve any medical problems and solely existed to make it harder to obtain an abortion.

Utah has a law requiring it’s abortion providing clinics to meet the specifications of a surgical, or “ambulatory care” facility, and it has an administrative law requiring medical directors at clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Bill Duncan, the director of the Center for Family and Society at the conservative Sutherland Institute, tells Fox 13 he believes the Supreme Court overstepped its authority, interfering with a state’s legitimate right to regulate medical practice.

“If an abortion provider wants to provide the service and feels like, ‘my job is harder because of these state regulations,’ they can presumably challenge that law,” said Duncan.

Galloway of Planned Parenthood said it’s too early to think about lawsuits.

“We're going to take a few minutes to celebrate,” said Galloway.