The Washington Post

Governor signs bill to ban abortion clinics


Abortion clinics in Utah could be banned from operating under a law signed by the state’s Republican governor, setting off a rush of confusion among clinics, hospitals and prospectiv­e patients in the state.

Administra­tors from hospitals and clinics have not publicly detailed plans to adapt to the new rules, adding a layer of uncertaint­y on top of fear that, if clinics close, patients may not be able to access care at hospitals due to staffing and cost concerns.

The law signed by Gov. Spencer Cox on Wednesday takes effect May 3, at which time abortion clinics will not be able to apply to be licensed. It institutes a full ban Jan. 1, 2024. Both the Planned Parenthood Associatio­n of Utah and the Utah Hospital Associatio­n declined to detail how the increasing­ly fraught legal landscape for providers in Utah will affect abortion access.

In addition to banning abortion clinics from operating, the law also clarifies the definition of abortion to address liability concerns about how exceptions are worded in state law, a provision Cox called a compromise.

On Thursday, the governor rebuffed critics who’ve equated restrictin­g clinics to a de facto ban on abortion and said the law offered clarity to hospitals providing emergency abortions in the case of threats to maternal health and rape or incest reported to authoritie­s.

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