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Planned Parenthood Utah pledges continued support to families after SCOTUS strikes down Roe v. Wade

Planned Parenthood Utah Salt Lake City.jpg
Credit Planned Parenthood Utah
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If the state bans abortions, as expected after the United States Supreme Court's ruling Friday, Planned Parenthood Utah says its clinics will stop performing them.

Planned Parenthood of Utah announced Friday it expects to stop performing abortions. The state nonprofit’s leadership said it will continue to support families in other ways.

The Supreme Court’s Friday ruling upends 50 years of federal protection for abortion and allows states to ban the procedure or restrict access to it.

Planned Parenthood of Utah President and CEO Karrie Galloway called it a "dark day."

“We've all been planning on this, especially since the leaked opinion happened about six weeks ago,” Galloway said. “But to have it reality is a real blow.”

Galloway said in a press conference the three Planned Parenthood clinics in Utah that perform abortions would continue to do so as of Friday. But she expects the state to criminalize the procedure shortly through a “trigger law” passed in 2020. That law, SB 174, makes performing an abortion a second-degree felony.

“Until the trigger law is certified, we are conducting business as usual,” Galloway said. “As soon as it's certified, we will have to stop performing any abortions here in Utah, and we will have to direct anyone who needs comprehensive reproductive health care to a friendlier state.”

Galloway said the Wasatch Women’s Center in Salt Lake City is the only other Utah abortion clinic that would be affected by the state's trigger law.

The 2020 trigger law bans abortions except if two doctors say the fetus has a lethal defect, in cases of conception through rape or incest, or to protect the life of the mother or prevent “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

When asked if Planned Parenthood would offer transportation to states like Colorado or Nevada, where state governments aren’t expected to ban abortions, Galloway said she didn’t know exactly how its service could shift in the future.

She said anyone who calls a clinic will receive any help the clinic can offer and answers to their questions.

As for potential legal action, she said the state nonprofit is “looking at all options.”

In response to Gov. Spencer Cox and state lawmakers who celebrated the ban, Galloway said she hoped their pledges to support pregnant people and families are sincere.

“It's nice of them to consider that now,” she said. “Where have they been for the past three years when we've had a bill in the Legislature to expand Medicaid for birth control? They've turned the other cheek. Where have they been when more money was needed for prenatal care? They've turned the other cheek. Where have they been for people who have challenging family situations, where they need help, services, money? They've turned their backs. Let's see some action.”

Planned Parenthood of Utah plans to hold a rally Friday at 7 p.m. outside the Utah State Capitol.

Ben Lasseter reports for KPCW in Wasatch County. Before moving to Heber City, Ben worked in Manti as a general assignment newspaper reporter and editor.
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