By Dave Andrusko
On Friday, on identical 53-14 votes, the Utah House of Representatives passed two bills further strengthening the state’s already strong opposition to abortion. “If passed by the state’s Senate and signed into law, the measures effectively would shut down abortion clinics that only offer abortion and would also help victims of rape and incest,” according to Peter Pinedo.
Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, the sponsor of the first bill [HB 467], “prohibits abortions outside of hospitals and bans clinics that only offer abortion,” Pinedo wrote.
Rep. Kera Birkeland, the sponsor of the second bill [HB 297], expands care for rape and incest victims. The bill, Pinedo explains, “provides health care for the victim and the child during the resulting pregnancy and for the first year after the child is born. The bill also further expands already existing laws that doctors performing abortions on rape or incest victims verify the crime with authorities.”
Utah passed a “trigger” law, in 2020, which went briefly into effect June 24, 2022 with the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision which overturned Roe v. Wade before Judge Andrew Stone stepped in.
“Judge Stone had previously granted a request from Planned Parenthood to stop the trigger law from being enforced for two weeks,” according to Brendan Pierson of Reuters. Once the first one expired, Stone granted a longer-term preliminary injunction.
In granting a preliminary injunction, Judge Stone said, “When you’re talking about a seismic change in women’s health treatment, it’s prudent to look before you leap.”
“While Utah’s trigger law that would ban almost all abortions (with exemptions) is on hold as it’s challenged in court, Utah’s current law bans abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, if the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest or when the fetus has a brain defect or abnormality,” Katie McKellar reported for Deseret News.