The Utah branch of Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit on Saturday seeking to block the state’s abortion ban, which came into effect on Friday after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade precedent that recognized women’s constitutional right to abortion.
Utah was one of eight states that imposed an immediate ban on abortions under a so-called “trigger law” as soon as the Supreme Court ruled on Friday to end a constitutional right that had been in place for almost 50 years. Up to 25 Republican-controlled states are expected to follow suit by banning abortions or curtailing access to abortions in coming months.
Utah had outlawed abortion with the exceptions of rape, incest, and to save the life of the mother through a law passed in 2020.
Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, part of a national abortion rights organization, argues in the lawsuit that provisions in Utah’s state constitution protects the right to an abortion.
The Utah branch is also seeking a temporary restraining order to stop the ban from taking effect. Without emergency court relief, at least 55 Utahns will not be able to get the abortion care they need this week, the lawsuit argues.
The Utah lawsuit marks the beginning of potentially widespread litigation in states seeking to halt or at least slow the impositions of abortion limits and bans in roughly half the country. The chances of success are likely slim, as the Supreme Court is America’s highest judicial forum and has the final say on issues including gun rights and abortion.
Under the Utah law, health care providers face arrest and criminal fines for providing abortion care. Victims of sexual assault may obtain an abortion, but only if they have filed a police report, which excludes most victims.