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An ‘uphill battle’ for Planned Parenthood lawsuit against Utah’s trigger law

Jun 27, 2022, 1:34 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Planned Parenthood is pushing for change. Particularly, they are challenging the state’s trigger law.

When looking at the possibility of anything coming from Planned Parenthood’s push for change, Bill Duncan, a research fellow at the Sutherland Institute, said it’s unlikely.

He calls it an “uphill battle, as one of the big reasons why comes down to wording.

The lawsuit claims that the Utah Constitution requires the state to allow abortion at any point during pregnancy.

Duncan explains that a combination of history and wording will likely stand in the way.

“I think that’s going to be a really hard thing to establish for them. I don’t think that the Utah Constitution has ever been read to require that, and I don’t think the history or tradition of the state’s constitution supports that idea,” Duncan said.

Utah Dept. of Health’s Office of Vital Records and Stats notes there were 2,776 total abortions in the state in 2019.

Under the trigger law, only 14 of those 2019 abortions would have been legal. Any abortions related to incest were not in the 2019 data.

Duncan said while the data is helpful, courts are not focusing so much on the logistical matters around a person wanting an abortion.

“The question from the Utah Supreme Court will be, ‘What does the state constitution mean? Does it include a right to abortion?’ And to some degree, those are some important stats to help us understand why people choose to have an abortion, but it doesn’t tell a lot about what the law requires in Utah,” Duncan explains.

He said to watch what other states do, and other lawsuits that arrive as those outcomes could give a better sense of what direction a Utah court could go.

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An ‘uphill battle’ for Planned Parenthood lawsuit against Utah’s trigger law