Judge grants temporary restraining order, blocking Utah abortion ban

SALT LAKE CITY — A judge has granted a restraining order that will temporarily block Utah’s Abortion “Trigger Law” for 14 days.

Following an emergency hearing on Monday, 3rd District Court Judge Andrew Stone granted the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah’s request for a temporary injunction.

“The immediate effects that will occur outweigh any political interest of the state to immediately stop abortions,” Judge Stone said. “The doctors here are threatened with crimes. The women concerned are deprived of safe local medical treatment to terminate a pregnancy.”

But Judge Stone warned the decision was only temporary. He scheduled another hearing in a few weeks to determine whether or not the injunction should stand and stressed that the case could go all the way to the Utah Supreme Court.

Planned Parenthood is one of two abortion providers in the state, their attorney said. Since Friday, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade and Utah’s trigger law went into effect, Planned Parenthood had to turn away dozens of people seeking abortions. FOX 13 News first reported on Saturday that the The ACLU and Planned Parenthood have filed a lawsuit, challenging Utah’s ban on elective abortions.

“There are a range of emotional, physical and financial consequences for patients who remain pregnant,” Planned Parenthood attorney Julie Murray told the judge.

Utah abortion trigger law passed in 2020, subject to Roe vs. Wade overturned by the United States Supreme Court. It prohibits abortions in the state, with exceptions for rape and incest, maternal health and safety, or fetal viability.

Tyler Green, an attorney hired by the state to represent them in the legal challenge, argued that Utah has an interest in protecting the lives of “unborn citizens”. He also told Judge Stone that the Utah State Constitution does not have a right to an abortion.

“In our opinion, talking about the probability of success which we believe is an essential part of any kind of investigation into a [temporary restraining order]there is no language that plaintiffs point to that explicitly uses the word abortion,” he argued.

But Murray countered that Utah’s constitution had an equal rights amendment.

“There are a lot of things that are protected by these equal rights concepts,” she said.

Judge Stone’s ruling allows abortions to resume immediately in Utah. On Utah’s Capitol Hill, lawmakers reacted to the restraining order.

“Statistically, 8.2 babies are aborted every day in Utah. Sadly, Judge Stone sentenced 115 babies to death. It is disappointing that a law intended to protect the most vulnerable, unborn children, is being delayed by a judge with no backing in the law,” the godfather of the trigger law, Sen. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, said in a statement. “I am confident that Utah’s abortion ban will be upheld and that we can work to sustain life.”

Senate President J. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said Utah will always defend the new law.

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to send regulation back to the states was the right choice. I look forward to Utah defending its law that prohibits elective abortion except for rape, incest, or sexual abuse. medical emergency, defending those who cannot defend themselves. I believe Utah law will prevail,” he said in a statement.

House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said he was confident the trigger law would be ruled constitutional “but he will monitor the court process as it unfolds.”

Governor Spencer Cox’s office said it would not comment on the litigation but would closely monitor the ongoing legal process.

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