On abortion and redistricting, Utah is still waiting on the state supreme court

HB560 passed on the final day of the session and now awaits the signature of Gov. Spencer Cox.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Utah Supreme Court chambers in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023.

The Utah Supreme Court works on its own calendar. Lawmakers though are anxious for some decisions.

Last summer, the state’s highest court heard arguments in two big cases. The first, in July, was a challenge to Utah’s Legislature-approved congressional maps. The second, in August, was about the state’s so-called abortion “trigger law.”

For both cases, time is starting to press. It’s an election year, after all, with the state’s House seats up for reelection. And it’s been almost two years since a judge blocked the trigger law after Roe v. Wade was struck down. So when lawmakers repealed the state’s 2023 ban on abortion clinics during the 2024 legislative session, it wasn’t because they had a change of heart.

“The whole purpose of this bill, as babies’ lives hang in the balance, really, is that we want our trigger bill,” Republican Rep. Karianne Lisonbee told lawmakers at a Feb. 26 committee hearing. “We believe it will be upheld as constitutional and we want that decision made.”

Because parts of the trigger law and clinic ban are enjoined, Lisonbee and Republican co-sponsor Sen. Dan McCay argued that repealing portions of the clinic ban would simplify the question before the state supreme court and expedite a ruling on the trigger law. On March 1, McCay told the Senate that “the most important thing for protecting life is reaching a decision on the constitutionality of the trigger law.”

Read more at kuer.org.

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of news organizations in Utah that aim to inform readers across the state.