Judge issues preliminary injunction, Utah abortion trigger law still blocked

Jul 11, 2022, 11:57 AM | Updated: Jul 17, 2022, 4:05 pm
utah abortion...
FILE: A sign is displayed at Planned Parenthood of Utah Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (Rick Bowmer/AP)
(Rick Bowmer/AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — A judge has issued a preliminary injunction against S.B. 174, Utah’s ban on most abortions. The decision means that S.B. 174 cannot go into effect until a lawsuit between Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and the state of Utah has been settled.

Listen to KSL NewsRadio’s Lindsay Aerts breaking report below:


When asked to comment on the preliminary injunction, the office of Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes told KSL Newsradio they had no comment. The other party in the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood of Utah, responded via Twitter:


Pro-Life Utah issued the following statement regarding the decision on Monday:

We are horrified by today’s granted injunction by Judge Stone permitting elective abortion to continue in the state of Utah. The irreparable harm to unborn babies was completely ignored. Thousands of babies would have been protected had the law been allowed to go into effect, but will now be killed as a result of this decision while we wait for the case to be litigated. Not only this, but the 18-week ban and the post-viability ban could also be put at risk. We will continue to work to save women from the trauma of abortion and babies from the horrific death perpetuated daily by Planned Parenthoood and other abortion providers. – Pro-Life Utah

Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and the state of Utah met in court on Monday regarding Utah’s “trigger law” which went into effect shortly after the Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wade.

Planned Parenthood responded by filing a lawsuit and securing a temporary block on the law which is now set to expire. Planned Parenthood of Utah CEO Karrie Galloway said now they are petitioning for a preliminary injunction.

“The preliminary injunction would put the state’s trigger ban on hold for the duration of the case,” said Galloway.  If the court sides with Planned Parenthood, then both sides would get a chance to make their case, she said. 

The impact on Planned Parenthood services

If the judge sides with the state, the trigger ban could go into effect, which could limit or eliminate services provided by PPAU. 

According to Galloway, access to most of their services would not be affected by the ban.

“Our abortion services here in the state of Utah comprise about 3% of our operation,” s aid Galloway, who noted that they see about 40,000 people a year for healthcare and family planning services, and only 2,500 of those people are seen for abortions.

Actually we help people become pregnant because we are a full, comprehensive provider of family planning,” said Galloway. “So, the only effect that the trigger ban would have is for over 50% of the population of Utah — those people who can get pregnant — will lose their bodily autonomy.”

The state of Utah’s argument

The state of Utah is pushing for S.B. 174 to be reinstated and argued that Utah’s abortion ban should be in effect because of the state’s long history of criminalizing abortion.

Lawmakers asserted that abortion has been illegal in Utah since it was a territory, meaning that when Utah became a state and the state constitution was written, the framers of the constitution were not trying to protect the right to an abortion.

Paul Cassell, a law professor at the University of Utah, thinks the case could go all the way to the Utah Supreme Court.

“My prediction is that the Utah Supreme Court is going to say that our constitution doesn’t speak to abortion one way or the other. That it’s a political issue just like many other things and the legislature gets to pass laws … as they think is appropriate,” Cassell said.

Lindsay Aerts and Kira Hoffelmeyer contributed to the reporting of this story.

Related: Different abortion law now in effect in Utah

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Judge issues preliminary injunction, Utah abortion trigger law still blocked