AP

Lawsuit challenges Utah ban on abortions after 18 weeks

Apr 10, 2019, 6:40 PM
Planned Parenthood representatives in Utah announce a lawsuit April 10th, 2019. (Credit: Meghan Tha...
Planned Parenthood representatives in Utah announce a lawsuit April 10th, 2019. (Credit: Meghan Thackrey, KSL TV)
(Credit: Meghan Thackrey, KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Abortion rights groups filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the constitutionality of a new Utah law banning most abortions after 18 weeks of gestation, following through on a vow made when lawmakers considered the measure during this year’s legislative session.

The law violates the U.S. Supreme Court’s longtime stance that states cannot ban abortion before the fetus is viable outside the womb, usually at about 23 weeks, the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah argued. The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah is assisting with the lawsuit filed in federal court.

The groups asked a judge to delay the implementation of the law, which is set to take effect on May 14.

Abortion rights supporters gathered inside the state Capitol holding pink signs that said, “Trust women” and “Abortion is health care” as officials discussed the lawsuit.

“Every person deserves the right to control their body, life and future,” said Karrie Galloway, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Utah. “That includes the right to decide when to become a parent. This 18-week ban puts medical decisions in the hands of politicians rather than the woman and her doctor.”

Dana Reinke, one of the people supporting the lawsuit, said the laws are trying to disempower women.

“Women should be trusted to make their own choices,” said Reinke, a married mother of two daughters from Salt Lake City. “We are not killers.”

Krista Noyes was the lone anti-abortion person at the event. She watched from afar holding a sign that had a picture of a fetus and the words, “Let me live.” Noyes said she wanted to represent Utah residents who oppose abortions and back the ban. She said there other options such as adoption for women who don’t want a baby.

“Just because you choose to have sex and you’re not ready to deal with the consequences, that doesn’t give you a right to take someone else’s life.” said Noyes, 25, of Orem, Utah.

The measure allows some exceptions — including cases of rape, fatal fetal deformity or serious detriment to the mother’s health.

Abortions done after 18 weeks account for about 3% of the procedures done at Planned Parenthood of Utah, Galloway said.

The legal battle in Utah comes as abortion opponents across the country push for near-total banson the procedure, emboldened by the new conservative majority on the Supreme Court. They are seeking cases that could be used to challenge Roe v. Wade, the court’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

“Their ultimate goal is to make abortion illegal,” Galloway said. “They have tried that, they have been unsuccessful so they are taking dings at it in small hits. This is the one this legislature chose this year.”

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, said when he signed the law that it strikes a balance between a woman’s right to choose and protecting unborn babies. He also said he was not worried about the potential $2 million cost of a lawsuit if the state loses.

Herbert’s spokeswoman Anna Lehnardt declined comment, saying he does not comment on pending litigation.

The sponsor of the Utah measure, Republican Rep. Cheryl Acton, said she wants to reduce the number of second-trimester abortions that “shock the conscience.”

Acton said after the lawsuit was filed that she agrees that the Utah law faces long odds of being upheld at the lower court level, but is enthused at the possibility that it might eventually be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on appeal.

“We believe that it time to revisit Roe v. Wade,” said Acton, a part-time writer and editor from the Salt Lake City suburb of West Jordan. “The risks to women were not understood at that time.”

That includes rare physical harm and common emotional and psychological damage, Acton said.

Marina Lowe of the ACLU said research refutes Acton’s claim.

The law adds to a long list of statewide abortion restrictions, including a 72-hour waiting period and an in-person informed consent session for women seeking abortions.

Herbert also signed a law this year banning abortion if the only reason is fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. The law contains a so-called trigger clause and would not go into effect unless a similar measure is upheld in court in another U.S. state.

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU won a similar lawsuit filed in the 1990s that led an appeals court to overturn a Utah law that banned abortions after 20 weeks.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Today’s Top Stories

AP

Frankfurter-munching phenom Joey “Jaws” Chestnut has gobbled his way to a 15th win at the Natha...
By JENNIFER PELTZ and JULIA NIKHINSON Associated Press

Joey Chestnut is chomp champ again in July 4 hot dog contest

NEW YORK (AP) — Frankfurter-munching phenom Joey “Jaws” Chestnut put a protester in a chokehold while gobbling his way to a 15th win Monday at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, powering down 63 hot dogs and buns at the annual exhibition of excess. In a decisive chowdown comeback, women’s record-holder […]
1 day ago
FILE - Fireworks explode over Baltimore's Inner Harbor during the Ports America Chesapeake 4th of J...
BOBBY CAINA CALVAN ASSOCIATED PRESS

A turbulent US this July 4, but many see cause to celebrate

July 4 has arrived as many citizens struggle to find a reason to celebrate. Yet many also see cause for celebration, including President Joe Biden.
1 day ago
A Navy soldier stands guard as authorities wait for the arrival of people who were evacuated from t...
Associated Press

Tropical Storm Colin brings rain to Carolinas, weakens

Tropical Storm Colin formed along the coast on Saturday. Conditions are expected to improve by Monday's Fourth of July celebrations.
2 days ago
A female bison and calf are seen near the Yellowstone River in Wyoming's Hayden Valley, on Wednesda...
Mark Jones

2nd visitor in 3 days gored by Yellowstone National Park bison

In less than a week, two visitors to Yellowstone National Park have been gored by bison. Park officials say to stay at least 25 yards away from a bison.
4 days ago
Travelers wait in for a TSA security check at the Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles,...
DAVID KOENIG ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pre-pandemic sized crowds descend on US airports for holiday

TSA is reporting crowds of pre-pandemic size are traveling this Independence Day.
4 days ago
Residents stand in front of building destroyed by missiles in Ukraine...
FRANCESCA EBEL Associated Press

Russian missiles kill at least 19 in Ukraine’s Odesa region

The Ukrainian president's office said three Kh-22 missiles fired by Russian bombers struck an apartment building and a campsite.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Lawsuit challenges Utah ban on abortions after 18 weeks