Utah judge blocks new state abortion ban

July 11 (Reuters) – A state court judge in Utah on Monday blocked a sweeping new ban on abortion from taking effect on Monday following the US Supreme Court’s ruling. United last month eliminating the nearly 50-year-old constitutional right to abortion.

Judge Andrew Stone of the Third Judicial District Court in Salt Lake City ruled during a hearing that the ban, which prohibited abortion at any time during pregnancy with few exceptions, should remain on hold while Planned Parenthood was pursuing a lawsuit.

“When you’re talking about a seismic shift in the treatment of women’s health, it’s prudent to watch before you jump,” Stone said.

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A spokesman for the Utah Attorney General’s office, Sean Reyes, declined to comment.

Planned Parenthood had sued the state on June 25, the day after the abortion ban took effect, arguing that the law violated the state’s constitutional rights to bodily integrity and privacy. Utah. Stone on June 27 temporarily blocked the law until he could hear arguments about it.

Planned Parenthood attorney Julie Murray said during Monday’s closing argument that without a court order preserving Utah’s abortion rights during the trial, thousands of Utahns would be denied needed abortion services. .

“The state has produced no evidence to refute the extensive harm the ban will cause,” she said.

Tyler Green, a state attorney, said the original meaning of the state constitution did not include any abortion rights.

“The legislature can make decisions as it sees fit…as long as it doesn’t infringe on a constitutional right,” he said.

Utah was one of 13 states that imposed an immediate ban on abortions under a so-called “trigger law.” These laws were designed to take effect when the Supreme Court overturned its 1973 precedent in Roe v. Wade recognizing a constitutional right to abortion, which she did on June 24. Under the law, health care providers risk arrest and criminal fines for performing abortions.

About half of US states are expected to eventually restrict or ban abortion after the Supreme Court ruling. Many have faced legal challenges, but most have failed, with courts allowing new laws to take effect in states like Mississippi, Texas and Florida.

The Utah ban included exceptions if the mother risked death or permanent injury and in cases of severe fetal abnormalities. It also included an exception in cases of rape or incest, but only if reported to the police.

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Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York, editing by Rosalba O’Brien, Jonathan Oatis and Josie Kao

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