Utah lawmakers clarify position on abortion trigger law after sending cease and desists to abortion providers

Sep 16, 2022, 2:00 PM
A crowd gathers in front of the Utah State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022, to protest the U.S. Su...
A crowd gathers in front of the Utah State Capitol on Friday, June 24, 2022, to protest the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that overturned Roe. vs. Wade. (Becky Bruce/ KSL NewsRadio)
(Becky Bruce/ KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah lawmakers have clarified that a claim they made about the legality of abortion in Utah did not involve legislative attorneys, and was instead, only their opinion.

In a letter made public yesterday, Rep. Kira Birkeland and Rep. Karianne Lisonbee claimed that doctors who are performing abortions in Utah can be retroactively charged with breaking the law.  

Today, Reps Lisonbee and Birkeland said some of their legislative colleagues thought the legislative staff was involved in the letter. With their announcement today, they wanted to make it clear the staff was not involved.

On Thursday, Birkeland and Lisonbee announced they’d warned doctors and health care providers about the current legality of most abortions in Utah. They stated that abortions are a felony in Utah and warned doctors about future prosecution.

Utah’s trigger law, S.B. 174, outlaws most abortions in Utah. It was activated when the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade earlier this year.

But S.B. 174 is on hold until a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Utah and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, asserting that the trigger law is unconstitutional, is adjudicated. 

“Abortion remains a criminal offense in Utah,” the letter from Birkeland and Lisonbee incorrectly stated. “And the trigger ban is in effect.”

However, the law currently in effect in Utah, H.B. 136, allows for abortions until a fetal age of 18 weeks. 


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Utah lawmakers clarify position on abortion trigger law after sending cease and desists to abortion providers