Utah governor plans to sign bill banning abortion clinics in the state

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox on Friday said he plans to sign into law a controversial bill that would ban abortion clinics in the state and “eliminate nearly all abortions in Utah,” according to reproductive rights advocates.

House Bill 467, authored by state Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, would require all abortions in the state — via surgery or medications — to be provided in hospitals by effectively phasing out licenses for abortion clinics to operate.

The state’s four clinics would no longer be allowed to operate once their licenses expire, and no new clinics would be licensed after May 2.

Abortion rights advocates say hospital requirements for abortion procedures are “unnecessary and make it more difficult and more costly for pregnant people to get the care they need.”

The primary aim of the bill is to “put abortion out of reach for as many Utahns as possible,” the Planned Parenthood Action Council of Utah said in a statement.

The Planned Parenthood Association of Utah operates three of the four abortion clinics in the state.

House Bill 467 passed both chambers of the Utah legislature this week. After passing through the state Senate on Thursday, it returned to the state House of Representatives with minor amendments on Friday.

The bill now heads to the desk of the state’s Republican governor for final approval. Cox told reporters he plans to sign it into law.

On Friday afternoon, Alexis McGill Johnson, president of Planned Parenthood Foundation of America, slammed the legislation as “nothing but shameful procedural and political maneuvering intended to get around a valid court decision and prevent Utahns from accessing abortion.”

Clinics provide the most abortions in Utah. Last year, 61% of all 2,818 abortions in the state were administered via medication instead of surgery.

If signed into law, HB 467 would have “devastating impacts on Utah communities,” Johnson tweeted.

With News Wire Services