Planned Parenthood Association of Utah filed a lawsuit on Saturday seeking to block the state’s ban on abortion, which came into effect after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Utah has outlawed abortion, with exceptions in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the woman, becoming one of eight states to have an abortion ban take effect on Friday after the court rescinded the constitutional right to an abortion. Several more bans are expected to take effect in the coming days and weeks.
The lawsuit in Utah argues that the state’s ban violates several provisions in the State Constitution, including the right to determine family composition and the right to equality between the sexes.
Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, which said it provides health care to about 46,000 people each year at eight health centers, is also seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunctive relief to stop the ban from being implemented.
“In one terrible moment, Roe v. Wade was overturned, and Utahns’ power to control their own bodies, lives, and personal medical decisions was threatened,” Karrie Galloway, president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said in a statement.
Under the ban, abortions are allowed in cases of rape or incest, to avert the death of or “serious risk” of impairment of a bodily function to a pregnant woman or if two doctors determine the fetus has a “uniformly lethal” defect.
In the lawsuit, which was filed in the Third Judicial District Court for Salt Lake County, Planned Parenthood said that it had to stop performing abortions immediately after the ban went into effect and that it would have to cancel 55 abortion appointments scheduled for next week unless temporary relief was granted.
The organization said that forced pregnancy would have a “dramatic, negative” impact on families’ financial stability and that in 2021, 45 percent of its abortion patients reported earning less than 130 percent of the federal poverty level.
The defendants include Utah’s attorney general, Sean Reyes, and governor, Spencer Cox. Mr. Cox said in a statement on Friday that he “wholeheartedly” supported the Supreme Court’s decision.
The attorney general’s office declined to comment and the governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, which also claimed that the ban violates Utah’s constitutional protections to privacy, bodily integrity, involuntary servitude and religious freedom.
Planned Parenthood Association of Utah said that at the time the lawsuit was filed, the three nearest abortion clinics were more than 200 miles away from Salt Lake City, in Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado.
The lawsuit cautioned that abortion bans were set to take effect in the near future in both Idaho and Wyoming.
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