Friday hearing could decide Utah’s abortion clinic access

Apr 27, 2023, 7:30 PM | Updated: Apr 28, 2023, 2:28 pm

PPAU and ACLU are attempting to get a judge to grant a preliminary injunction against a new Utah la...

PPAU and ACLU are attempting to get a judge to grant a preliminary injunction against a new Utah law, banning abortions in clinics. (Annie Barker /Deseret News)

(Annie Barker /Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — A judge could decide as early as Friday whether the latest Utah abortion law, that bans clinics from performing abortions and shifts care to hospitals, takes effect next week.

At 10 a.m., April 28, there’s a court hearing regarding the preliminary injuction request to block that law, H.B. 467.

Planned Parenthood, PPAU, and the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, of Utah are attempting to get a judge to grant the injuction. If it’s granted, it would mean the law would not take effect until a final decision on Utah’s abortion litigation is made. 

PPAU and ACLU argue that the new law effectively bans abortions, which they call essential healthcare for women.

“Without access to abortion, it will not be safe to be pregnant in Utah today, said Sarah Stoesz, Planned Parenthood of Utah Interim CEO. 

If the judge does not halt the law, clinics cannot perform abortions starting next Wednesday. 

“It means that by May 3 women in Utah will no longer be able to have abortions it’s just plain and simple,” said Stoesz.

Furthermore, the new law would mandate that abortions can only be performed in hospitals. 

“Hospitals are not providing abortions except in very, very rare circumstances,” Stoesz said. 

KSL Legal Analyst Greg Skordas weighed in on the situation, describing what it means if an injunction is not issued. 

“If the judge doesn’t issue a preliminary injunction, he is in effect, saying that he doesn’t believe that Planned Parenthood is likely to prevail,” Skordas said.

Planned Parenthood of Utah must prove that its case can prevail on its merits, or win, in order to be granted the injunction.

The Utah legislature recently made the criteria for issuing injuctions in Utah more difficult, approving H.J.R. 2, which took away the path that would have allowed them to prove the law should be paused because it was of significant public importance.

Stoesz adds that it’s possible no decision is reached during Friday’s hearing. 

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Friday hearing could decide Utah’s abortion clinic access