Utah lawmakers put new law in place prohibiting abortion after 18 weeks

Jun 28, 2022, 5:34 PM | Updated: 11:31 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah continues to have new developments in its legal battle over abortions, according to state lawmakers, another law is now in place.

HB 136 is a law that prohibits elective abortion after 18 weeks of gestation, with exceptions for cases such as rape and incest.

While the bill was passed in 2019, it couldn’t go into law because of the precedent set by Roe V. Wade. However, with the recent decision of the Supreme Court to overturn it, HB 136 goes into place.

Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade; states can ban abortion

Currently, a judge is determining whether or not a near-full ban on abortion violates the state’s constitution.

According to a release from state lawmakers, “Planned Parenthood enjoined the enactment of HB 136 immediately after the governor signed it, contending that it violated the pre-Dobbs viability standard. The Dobbs decision released on Friday returned abortion law to the states, overturning viability considerations at the federal level.”

“I knew it might happen, but it seemed a remote possibility,” said Rep. Cheryl Acton, R-West Jordan, who sponsored HB 136.

She explained that the law was tied up in district court.

“Someone texted me and said they thought that my law might be the law of land right now, and I was like, ‘No it’s been enjoined; it’s still not on the table,'” Acton explained. “And then I learned that it had been dismissed (from district court), so I was surprised.”

After receiving legal confirmation, she publicly announced that HB 136 was taking effect.

HB 136 restricts the state’s prior law of 22 weeks to 18, with six exceptions: rape, incest, life of the mother, permanent impairment of the mother, fatal fetal defect, and severe brain abnormality.

Acton said the severe brain abnormality exception was not included in prior law and is an additional exception.

Violation of the law can result in criminal felony charges.

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law professor, Teneille Brown, who speaks for herself and not on behalf of her employer, called the situation a “legal mess.”

“It doesn’t help provide legitimacy for the courts as a rule of law when it looks like it’s volleying back and forth,” she said.

Brown expressed that the sudden changes in law add uncertainty to an already complicated and serious process for patients seeking care and for providers. She said providers and patients now need to keep track of things moment-by-moment, because what is legal one day may not be the next.

“This is a very difficult, personal decision, and so not knowing whether you are going to be able to have a procedure or not, whether it’s legal or not, whether your provider even knows whether it is legal or not — that’s very destabilizing for the rule of law,” she said.

She also hoped for clarification on how the law will be enforced.

Planned Parenthood is seeking an injunction against SB 174 while Judge Andrew Stone considers whether the law violates the Utah Constitution.

Acton doesn’t expect HB 136 to stay in effect for long.

“As a state, Utah values human life at all ages and stages and under all circumstances,” she said. “HB 136 will protect unborn children after 18 weeks’ gestation pending the outcome of SB 174.”

President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Utah, Karrie Galloway, released the following statement Tuesday evening:

Planned Parenthood’s doors are open, and we will continue to provide abortion care according to the law. The dismissal of our case against HB 136 was a procedural move after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Rest assured, PPAU still has a right to challenge the 18-week ban in a future case. For now, we are focused on challenging the trigger ban in state court and doing all we can to provide care to our patients.

Deanna Holland, executive director of Pro-Life Utah, also released a statement Tuesday evening:

We are grateful that the 18-week ban on elective abortion in Utah is now in effect. For the time being, at least some unborn babies will be protected from having their lives ended. We appreciate Representative Acton for spearheading this bill and for now seeing it go into effect to save babies. We look forward to the time when all unborn babies are protected from elective abortion and are confident we will see that in Utah very soon.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

(Stuart Johnson, KSL TV)...

Josh Ellis

Pickup truck crashes into Provo duplex

Police are asking drivers to avoid the area of 900 East and 200 North in Provo after a truck crashed into a home Thursday morning.

1 hour ago


Kyle Ireland

Miller Sports + Entertainment releases renderings for Daybreak field ballpark

Miller Sports + Entertainment unveiled renderings for the new home of the Salt Lake Bees in South Jordan, Daybreak Field.

3 hours ago

(Janna-Lee Holland, Provo Police Department)...

Josh Ellis

Man injured after SUV crashes into Provo car dealership

A 28-year-old man was seriously injured after police say he crashed his SUV into the lot of a car dealership in north Provo.

5 hours ago

Police vehicles at the scene where a teenager was killed in a Mountain View Corridor crash after ru...

Josh Ellis and Mary Culbertson, KSL TV

Teen dead in Mountain View Corridor crash after running red light, police say

A teenager was killed in a crash on Mountain View Corridor early Thursday morning after running a red light, police say.

6 hours ago

Credit cards...

Matt Gephardt

Household debt reaches record high but inflation is masking debt progress

Personal finance experts say American debt has never been higher, but considering the circumstances, it could be much worse.

14 hours ago

Blue skies over a brick and stucco building...

Daniel Woodruff

Former juror shares views on Chad Daybell trial as jury begins deliberating

A former juror in the trial for Lori Vallow Daybell was present at Chad Daybell's trial just before jury deliberations.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 Internet Safety Tips for Kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Utah lawmakers put new law in place prohibiting abortion after 18 weeks