Abortion banned (except in certain circumstances) in Utah, effective June 24, 2022

Today, June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the decision from the 1973 case of overruled Roe v. Wade which had (until today’s decision of the Supreme Court) ruled that abortion was a constitutional right.

What does this mean for the law regarding abortion in Utah? The Salt Lake Tribune summed it up well:

“The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, sending the power to regulate abortions back to the states and clearing the way for Utah’s trigger law[1] to go into effect.

“The trigger law – passed by the Utah Legislature in 2020 as SB174[2] – bans abortions in the Beehive State, except in these limited circumstances:

“• If it ‘is necessary to avert the death’ or if there is ‘a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function’ of the pregnant woman.

“• ‘Two physicians who practice maternal fetal medicine concur … that the fetus has a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal,’ or ‘has a severe brain abnormality that is uniformly diagnosable.’ According to the law, this does not include Down syndrome, spina bifida, cerebral palsy or any condition ‘that does not cause an individual to live in a mentally vegetative state.’

“• The pregnancy was caused by a rape or incest. Before performing an abortion, the physician would have to verify the rape or incest has been reported to law enforcement or the proper authorities.”

(Salt Lake Tribune: Utah’s abortion trigger law is now in effect after Supreme Court overrules Roe v. Wade, last reviewed at 6:55 p.m. on June 24, 2022)

The Utah Attorney General’s Office issued statement on June 24, 2022 regarding Utah’s abortion ban law, which can be accessed here: Utah Attorney General’s Office Statement on Supreme Court Abortion Ruling


[1] Currently, thirteen states have such trigger laws, which were passed by their state legislatures to ban abortion in the event that the Roe v. Wade decision were overturned.

[2] The “trigger” section of the Utah Code is:

Section 4. Contingent effective date.

(1) As used in this section, “a court of binding authority” means:

(a) the United States Supreme Court; or

(b) after the right to appeal has been exhausted:

(i) the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit;

(ii) the Utah Supreme Court; or

(iii) the Utah Court of Appeals.

(2) The provisions of this bill take effect on the date that the legislative general counsel certifies to the Legislative Management Committee that a court of binding authority has held that a state may prohibit the abortion of an unborn child at any time during the gestational period, subject to the exceptions enumerated in this bill.

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