Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox on Wednesday put his signature on a bill prohibiting abortion clinics from receiving new licenses in coming months. The measure also banned abortions in clinics as of 2024, as a previous law enacted a total ban was blocked in court.
Planned Parenthood immediately announced that it will work to determine steps around the new law.
Organization lobbyist Jason Stevenson said the same day that the group will pore through the individual wording of the expansive law. He added that Planned Parenthood may apply for a license to carry out hospital-equivalent services.
Utah will stop renewing and issuing licenses for abortion clinics starting May 2, and will completely outlaw them in January 2024.https://t.co/0LPdeCOvza
— The Salt Lake Tribune (@sltrib) March 16, 2023
The Supreme Court opened the floodgates when it overturned Roe v. Wade in a landmark decision last year. This monumental ruling sent the issue back to the states, and many are enacting their own laws restricting or banning the controversial procedure altogether.
The Utah law works as a de-licensing process, meaning clinics will not be able to receive new licenses after May 2. The total ban on abortions at health clinics begins Jan. 1, 2024.
Abortions will then be required to be performed in a hospital, with some exceptions.
The expansive new law means that providing abortions outside of mandated settings is “unprofessional conduct” for health care workers. It also sets requirements for doctors to follow in the case of the diagnosis of a lethal fetal anomaly.
The physicians must “give notice of the availability of perinatal hospice and perinatal palliative care services as an alternative to abortion.”
Utah state legislators proclaimed the law would shield “the innocent” and “the unborn.” They added that their state no longer needed abortion clinics after last year’s Supreme Court decision.
According to the Utah Hospital Association, no hospitals in the state performed elective abortions in 2022.
The University of California’s Dr. Carole Joffe believes the difference in costs between a “health clinic” and hospitals may be prohibitive. “Everything in a hospital is more expensive than in a clinic. Doing an abortion in a hospital, you need more personnel.”
She added that finding hospital staff to perform abortions in a hospital in an anti-abortion state such as Utah may be difficult.
As new laws and restrictions are implemented in states across the U.S., the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision are clear. States are exercising their right to democratically determine the path they will take, and pro-choice zealots must adjust to the new reality.