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Utah judge temporarily blocks law ending licenses for abortion clinics


A “90 years of service” poster hangs on the side of Planned Parenthood after the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Dobbs v Women’s Health Organization abortion case, overturning the landmark Roe v Wade abortion decision, in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. June 24, 2022. REUTERS/Lawrence Bryant/File Photo

A court in Utah has stopped the state’s Republican-dominated government from enforcing a new law that would effectively end abortions by making it impossible to get a license for a clinic where they are performed.

Judge Andrew H. Stone of the Third District Court of the state of Utah ruled on Tuesday that abortion rights group Planned Parenthood, which had sued to block the law, was likely to prevail in its argument that the law is not reasonable.

Planned Parenthood said the measure, which would eliminate the licensing process for abortion clinics and thus effectively make it impossible to get an abortion anywhere but in a hospital, violated the state constitution’s rights to privacy and bodily integrity.

Stone last year issued a preliminary order preventing the state from enforcing an earlier abortion ban while he hears a legal challenge by Planned Parenthood. The judge said at a hearing in that separate case that it was prudent to pause a “seismic change in women’s health treatment” until the lawsuit, which remains pending, is finally decided.

Utah is one of numerous conservative-led states that have restricted or attempted to restrict abortion access after the U.S. Supreme Court last year overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that recognized women’s constitutional right to abortion.

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