Lawmakers signing abortion letter, others stepping away

Sep 16, 2022, 8:55 AM | Updated: Sep 28, 2022, 1:50 pm
utah smoky skies...
FILE PHOTO: Utah capitol building. Photo, Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY — A letter published and signed by multiple Utah lawmakers says they will charge anyone who provides abortions, despite the current hold on Utah’s abortion trigger law. And while several lawmakers signed the letter, others are changing their minds.  

In the letter, two sponsors of Utah’s trigger law claim that abortion remains a criminal offense and that, right now, is a felony.  A judge has put that trigger law on hold while lawyers argue its constitutionality. This group of lawmakers argues that once it takes effect, the state will prosecute every abortion case dating back to the Supreme Court’s decision a few months ago.

A spokeswoman for the House of Representatives says Utah’s 18-week trigger ban is still in effect, however. Representatives KariAnne Lisonbee and Kera Birkeland are promising a new law that will automatically revoke the licenses of any doctor violating the trigger law while it’s in court.


At least one legal analyst says Thursday’s warning doesn’t hold water. The letter is not from the entire House of Representatives, but rather from 22 representatives and two candidates running for seats in the Utah House.

Planned Parenthood of Utah and the ACLU of Utah released a joint statement calling the letter a “stunt to further harass abortion providers and stigmatize patients who need care.” 

One lawmaker has since stepped away from the letter.

Representative Steven Handy says the letter was not what he thought it was when he signed it. Handy said he believes that currently abortions up to 18 weeks are still legal.

He spoke on Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News and said the letter was harsher than he realized. He does however still maintain support for the trigger law he voted for.


KSL Legal Analyst Greg Skordas said the lawmakers backing this letter are, legally, in the wrong.

“The (trigger)  law has been stayed. It is not the current Utah law. An older trigger law is in place, which allows for the procedure to occur up to 18 weeks,” Skordas said. “But what they’re saying is that the original law that’s been stayed is the law of the land and in my opinion that’s just absolutely not true.”

But he admits the letter may still have impact.

“I think it’s probably making a lot of these providers very nervous,” Skordas told KSL NewsRadio. ”


Related reading

Today’s Top Stories


election results...
Elizabeth Weiler and Chris Jacobs

New poll suggests voters don’t wan’t to see Biden or Trump on the ballot

SALT LAKE CITY — A new poll shows a high number of voters do not want to see either President Biden or Former President Trump on the upcoming 2024 Presidential ballot, some would even be willing to pay money to not. It is currently unknown if either Biden or Trump will run in 2024 as […]
16 hours ago
(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)...
Jennifer Hansler, CNN

US Embassy warns Americans to leave Russia

 (CNN) — The U.S. Embassy in Moscow issued a security alert overnight that urged U.S. citizens to leave Russia immediately while there are still options for departing the country. The alert comes in the wake of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order for partial mobilization of Russian men to fight in his war in Ukraine. “Russia […]
16 hours ago
Draper City is suing, Geneva Rock, a mining company at the Point of the Mountain. The city is conce...
Jessica Lowell & Allie Litzinger

Draper City suing Geneva Rock, the mining company at Point of the Mountain

Draper City is suing, Geneva Rock, a mining company at the Point of the Mountain over concerns about what the company's mining activity will do to the area.
3 days ago
fairness pregnant...
Lindsay Aerts

Utah moms rally behind Fairness for Pregnant Workers Act

Utahns in the nationwide advocacy group Mom Congress are pushing for a fairness bill to give pregnant workers more federal protections.
3 days ago
Utah Republicans are looking to ban transgender surgeries and other hormone-based care....
Mark Jones

Utah to receive additional $4.9 million from FEMA in response to COVID-19

FEMA has announced Utah will receive an additional $4.9 million to help with the housing costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
6 days ago
Curt Gresseth

Former U.S. Attorney for Utah talks about what FBI can take off your cellphone

A legal expert joined Dave and Dujanovic to discuss how the FBI can obtain evidence of a crime from a cellphone.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
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.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
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.
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?
Lawmakers signing abortion letter, others stepping away