Utah Governor Spencer Cox has signed a pro-life bill that aims to protect unborn babies by ending abortion facility licenses across the state. The new law effectively has the potential to ban elective abortions in Utah, while the court order blocking its abortion ban remains in place.
This week, Cox, a pro-life Republican, signed House Bill 467 into law, which was sponsored by state Representative Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield. The bill prohibits abortion facilities from operating in Utah, starting in 2024, and prohibits state authorities from granting licenses to abortion facilities after May 2. Additionally, the bill requires abortions that are allowed under the law to be performed in hospitals, rendering current abortion facilities’ licenses meaningless.
Lisonbee stated that the bill “strikes the very best balance of protecting innocent life and protecting women who experience rare and dangerous circumstances.” The state legislature passed the bill by an overwhelming majority earlier this month.
Despite the bill’s passing, Utah’s current court order prevents the state from enforcing a ban on abortions. The law aims to protect unborn babies in the interim while the lawsuit continues.
Utah currently has four abortion facilities, including the Wasatch Women’s Center in Salt Lake City and three Planned Parenthoods. It is not yet clear if any of these facilities plan to file lawsuits attempting to block the law. The Utah Hospital Association reported to the Associated Press that Utah hospitals do not perform elective abortions, and they did not comment on whether any plan to start performing them as a result of the new law.