Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has signed legislation banning abortion clinics in the state starting next year.
The bill (HB0467) bans abortion clinics from operating after January 1, 2024, or “the last valid date of an abortion clinic’s license issued under the requirements of the new law, whichever date is later.”
Under the new law, the state cannot issue new licenses for an abortion clinic after May 2, 2023.
“Nothing in this bill makes abortions in Utah safer, more affordable, or more accessible for the thousands of Utahns who need this essential health care each year,” Karrie Galloway, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, said in a statement after the bill was passed by the legislature. “It has one goal: put abortion out of reach for as many Utahns as possible no matter what their faith, family, and trusted medical providers decide is best for their safety and health.”
Planned Parenthood says that the legislation is aimed at circumventing a court ruling blocking Utah’s near-total abortion ban by amending the existing ban to restrict abortion procedures to hospitals.
“HB 467 is nothing but shameful procedural and political maneuvering intended to get around a valid court decision and prevent Utahns from accessing abortion,” Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, added in the statement. “Today’s passage is just one part of a nationwide campaign by anti-abortion extremists to end legal abortion throughout the United States, and it will have devastating impacts on Utah communities.”
One of the main concerns of the pro-abortion lobby is that hospitals have a comparatively higher cost of care and staffing shortages, which could make it more difficult to obtain a legal abortion.
“Everything in a hospital is more expensive than in a clinic. Doing an abortion in a hospital, you need more personnel,” Dr. Carole Joffe, a University of California, San Francisco professor who has written about the societal effects of abortion, told the Associated Press (AP).
Joffe added that another challenge facing overburdened hospitals is staffing, particularly in states where a majority of people may oppose abortion.
“You have to draw from a pool that may or may not be sympathetic to abortion, unlike in a clinic where you don’t go to work at unless you’re committed to abortion being part of health care,” she said.
Currently, at least 21 states have pending legal battles over abortion laws.