AG’s office asks permission from Utah Supreme Court to appeal hold on abortion trigger law

Utah’s trigger law has been blocked since Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit three days after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) People add their thoughts to a wall of a new art exhibit entitled Bans Off Our Beehive, hosted by Planned Parenthood Association of Utah showcasing artwork created by people about their abortions at Medium Studio in Sugarhouse on Friday, May 13, 2022. The Utah Attorney General's office has asked the state Supreme Court for permission to appeal the current hold on Utah's trigger law.

One month after a district court judge granted a preliminary injunction on Utah’s abortion trigger law, the attorney general’s office is asking the Utah Supreme Court to allow it to appeal the hold on SB174.

The attorney general’s office announced the move toward reinstating Utah’s abortion ban, which went into effect in June after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, in a press release Thursday. Utah’s abortion trigger law, passed by lawmakers in 2020, was blocked three days after the decision when 3rd District Judge Andrew Stone issued a temporary restraining order at the request of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.

“Planned Parenthood Association of Utah (PPAU) challenges Utah’s renewed abortion policy as violating an alleged implied state constitutional right to abortion,” the petition, which was filed late Tuesday night, reads. “And the district court preliminarily enjoined the State from enforcing its law. That extraordinary remedy warrants immediate review by and relief from this Court.”

Although the attorney general’s office is asking to appeal the injunction, that request alone will not lift the district court’s hold on the state’s abortion ban. Unless the attorney general’s office files a motion to stay the injunction — or halt the lower court’s action — the hold will remain in place throughout the appeals process.

In a statement provided to The Salt Lake Tribune, Karrie Galloway, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said, “The state’s request to appeal was expected and is a normal part of the legal process. We feel confident the injunction will stand so that Utahns can continue to get the health care they need while we fight this ban in court.”

Justices will decide on the petition amongst themselves, as the Utah Supreme Court does not hold hearings for such requests. Utah Attorney General’s office spokesperson Richard Piatt said there is not a set timeline for when the court is expected to answer the petition.

The state Supreme Court is currently one short of its constitutionally-required five justices. It’s unclear whether the court will wait to make a decision until after the Utah Senate’s potential confirmation of Jill Pohlman to the bench next week.

“Today’s petition is a step in the process to challenge the preliminary injunction and will not resolve the merits of the Trigger Law case,” read a statement from the attorney general’s office.