18-week Abortion Ban

Resist Utah’s Unconstitutional 18-week Abortion Ban

On March 25, 2019, Governor Herbert signed into law H.B. 136 — the blatantly unconstitutional 18-week abortion ban.

To stop the law from being enforced, the ACLU of Utah Foundation and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah are suing the state to ensure that all Utah women retain their reproductive freedom. We filed our lawsuit on April 10, 2019 and immediately sought a preliminary injunction to stop H.B. 136 from taking effect as the lawsuit moves forward.

But the battle to protect reproductive rights in Utah isn’t only fought in the courts.

We need to show the lawmakers that thousands of Utahns support the right to access safe and legal abortion. We need to re-assert that the decision to continue or end a pregnancy is one that must be made by a woman in consultation with those she trusts, including her physician, family and faith leaders.

Sign our community letter below to tell Utah lawmakers that you support the ability for women to remain free to make personal medical decisions without governmental interference.

Dear Utah lawmakers:

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations, strongly oppose H.B. 136, Abortion Amendments, and stand alongside the ACLU of Utah and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah in resisting this new ban on women’s reproductive health.

We believe the decision to continue or end a pregnancy is one that must be made by a woman in discussions with those she trusts, including her physician, family and faith leaders, not by politicians. Therefore, we see H.B. 136 as unnecessary and harmful political interference in a private medical and health decision. Utah already has many barriers in place making abortion difficult, and H.B. 136 moves the needle even further towards severely restricting abortion.

Utah currently requires a woman seeking an abortion to complete many burdensome steps, including a 72-hour waiting period, before receiving abortion care. These medically unnecessary restrictions can cause delays in seeking health care beyond the normal barriers like not being able to afford a doctor’s office visit or a lack of providers nearby. All of these challenges disproportionately impact women who are Black, Latina, or Native, who live in rural areas, and/or families who are economically disadvantaged, many of whom are our friends, clients, patients, and neighbors.

We also know that this bill is blatantly unconstitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court has held for over 40 years that states may not ban abortion before fetal viability. When the Utah Legislature passed a similar ban in the early 1990s, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled it was unconstitutional. Yet lawmakers deliberately flouted established court decisions by passing this law that is guaranteed to entangle the state in a complex lawsuit costing Utah taxpayers millions of dollars in legal bills.

We may not all agree about abortion, but we can agree that each person’s situation is unique and deserves compassion and respect. We should trust that women and their families are able to make the best decision for themselves. As organizations from across the community, we are writing to tell you that this bill harms us all. Instead of wasting taxpayer money on another fruitless lawsuit, our state’s elected leaders could have invested in improving women’s health through increased access to health care and education.

We can only hope that future leaders of Utah will pursue wiser approaches that increase health care rather than lawsuits that violate our civil rights.