SALT LAKE CITY — Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah filed a lawsuit seeking to block Utah's new law banning all elective abortions.
The lawsuit, filed Saturday in Salt Lake City's 3rd District Court, argues that Utah's law is unconstitutional and seeks a restraining order to block it from being enforced. FOX 13 News reported on Friday night the law had gone into effect following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned Roe v. Wade, leaving it to states to decide how to regulate abortion.
The Utah State Legislature passed a law in 2020 banning all elective abortions in the state, with exceptions for rape and incest, the health or safety of the mother or fetal viability. The law was put on hold pending the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
"Utahns harmed by this extreme abortion ban will include women who seek care just days or weeks after discovering a missed period; those who are already struggling to pull their children out of poverty, finish school, escape an abusive partner, or overcome addiction; sexual assault survivors who, as is common, do not report their assault to law enforcement; and families grieving fetal diagnoses that they know they are ill-equipped to cope with," the lawsuit states.
"In each of these cases, and countless others, Utahns who have relied on safe, legal access to abortion—access that has existed for at least five decades—will lose the right to determine the composition of their families and whether and when to become parents; their entitlement to be free from discriminatory state laws that perpetuate stereotypes about women and their proper societal role; the right to bodily autonomy and to be free from involuntary servitude; and the right to make private health care decisions and to keep those health care decisions free from public scrutiny."
Planned Parenthood said in the lawsuit it was forced to cancel a dozen appointments on Friday for abortions as a result of the trigger law. It had more than 55 scheduled abortion procedures next week which were halted by the new law.
The lawsuit names Governor Spencer Cox, Attorney General Sean Reyes and the head of Utah's Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing as defendants. A spokesperson for Cox told FOX 13 News they had no comment on the lawsuit.
Karrie Galloway, the president of the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said the state constitution grants equal rights to men and women, said.
“To be honest, this is not the first time we've had to sue the state of Utah," she said. "And we’ve won a majority of the suits.”
She said laws should not favor one sex over the other.
“It says men and women are equal," said Galloway. "And so that's where we're starting.”
The suit seeks a temporary restraining order over the trigger law; Planned Parenthood had to cancel more than 55 scheduled abortion procedures next week, the suit stated.
“They made these appointments a week, 10 days ago," said Galloway. "They were counting on having bodily autonomy over decisions about forced pregnancy. And today, they didn't.”
The state has 21 days to respond to the lawsuit.
Galloway said she’ll keep fighting day after day for the women of Utah.
“This is definitely the biggest challenge that we've had," she said. "I enjoy a challenge.”
Because the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that abortion is a matter for states to decide, litigation will be fought on a state level and this case is likely to reach the Utah Supreme Court. On Friday, thousands protested the ruling outside the Utah State Capitol.
Read the lawsuit here: