Opponents moving forward with efforts to block 18-week abortion ban

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Opponents of the 18-week abortion ban promised to take the battle to court if Governor Gary Herbert signed it into law. He did, and now they are following through.

House Bill 136 prohibits abortion after 18 weeks with a few exceptions, like the risk to the mother or if the child is diagnosed with an extreme brain abnormality.

Opponents say the fight is not over.

“This bill is blatantly unconstitutional,” said Brittney Nystrom, Ex. Director of the ACLU of Utah.

That’s the stance from the ACLU and Planned Parenthood.

That’s why the two organizations are teaming up to file a lawsuit.

“We have been very transparent and straight forward from the beginning when this bill was being debated on the hill. We made it clear, were it to pass, we would be bringing a legal challenge,” said Nystrom.

Their legal teams are working out the details of where to file and when. They say precedent is on their side.

“There seems to be a lot of states trying to block abortion rights in many different ways, but the courts have held firm and found that those are unconstitutional restrictions,” Nystrom said.

Even legislative attorneys warned of that, but it never swayed supporters who say it’s a new day, with a new court.

“We now have a window into the womb and we know what these little babies are doing. We know they can feel pain,” said Gayle Ruzicka, with the Utah Eagle Forum.

The bill passed both chambers mostly along party lines.

A few House Republicans objected on a fiscal basis, but Ruzicka says no cost is too high.

“We’re talking about spending maybe $2 million to save babies, to save little unborn children. I don’t even know how we can put a price tag on that,” she said.

Time is of the essence for the lawsuit. The plan is to get it filed in time to block the bill before it takes effect in May 2019.

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Glen Mills

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For this Beetdigger and Ute it’s an honor to be doing what he loves in his home state! Glen is an award-winning journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team in June 2013. You can catch him anchoring ABC4 News at 5 and 6, Monday through Friday. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent, keeping you up to date on issues that impact your life at the city, state and national level. His political reports run throughout the week, and he hosts Inside Utah Politics, Sunday mornings at 8. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...