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Tipsheet

Judge Temporarily Blocks Utah's Abortion Ban Following Dobbs Decision

AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe

On Monday, Third District Court Judge Andrew Stone issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against Utah's trigger law passed in 2020 that was intended to ban abortion if and when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The Court did just that last Friday, with Dobbs v. Jackson.

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The law in question, Utah S. B. 174, makes exceptions for life of the mother, when the mother would have "a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function," when "two physicians who practice fetal medicine concur" that the fetus "has a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal; or has a severe brain abnormality that is uniformly diagnosable." There are also exceptions for pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. 

As Fox News 13 reported, Planned Parenthood Utah and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah have filed an emergency injunction. Judge Stone granted such a hearing for Monday to decide if he'll grant an emergency injunction to block the law from being enforced.

The timing has to do with Planned Parenthood having scheduled 12 abortions for that day to end the lives of unborn children. 

According to KSL.com

Julie Murray, an attorney representing Planned Parenthood, argued that delaying abortions can cause harm to health and reduce a woman's access to abortion. She said the stakes are high, asking the court to look at the balance of harm and how people could be harmed by the law.

"A week can make a substantial difference in the likelihood that someone is ever able to obtain an abortion," she said.

Planned Parenthood said it was scheduled to perform at least 12 abortions on Monday and asked the court to address the issue by Monday in their request for a hearing.

Tyler Green, who represents the state of Utah, said the state did not have much time to prepare before the hearing on Monday. He said he understands that the plaintiffs believe their case is urgent.

He said the complaint cites 10 constitutional provisions, but none of them should be considered to be talking about abortion when considering the language in the code.

Murray responded by saying that the Utah Constitution, which she said has more affirmative rights than the U.S. Constitution, is clear in saying men and women should have the same rights. She said although the people writing the Constitution may not have been thinking of abortion, they understood that what the code means would change over time.

Planned Parenthood's lawsuit, which was filed on Saturday, claims that the law violates the Utah Constitution and it asked the court for a declaration that it does and a temporary restraining order that would keep the law from being enforced.

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As I covered earlier on Monday, a judge in Louisiana similarly issued a TRO blocking the state's trigger ban there, which makes exceptions for the life of the mother, or if she'll suffer permanent injury. 

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