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August 2023 Update: After the Utah Supreme Court Hearing

On August 8th, lawyers for Planned Parenthood defended abortion care during a four-hour hearing at the Utah Supreme Court. The issue before the Court was an important one: The State of Utah was asking the Court to remove the injunction blocking Utah’s total abortion ban from taking effect. “That injunction is currently shielding the women and families of Utah from great harm to their health and their rights,” Camila Vega, an attorney for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the five Supreme Court Justices. 
After hours of back-and-forth legal discussion, the Court took the issue under consideration. There is no clear timeline for when the justices will decide whether to continue the injunction in the trigger ban case.

[Photo: PPAU attorneys Camila Vega (Associate Staff Attorney, PPFA), Julie Murray (Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU State Supreme Court Initiative), and Troy Booher (Appellate Attorney, Zimmerman Booher) prepare for the Utah Supreme Court hearing on August 8, 2023.] 

FAQ About Abortion Access in Utah

Yes, abortion is legal in Utah.  But we know you have more questions. Find the answers you need by downloading our latest FAQ on abortion access in Utah. Click on DOWNLOAD PDF at right.

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May 2023 Update: Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. State of Utah

On Tuesday, May 2, 2023, the Third Judicial District Court for Salt Lake County, Utah blocked the implementation of H.B. 467 — a new law that would functionally eliminate access to abortion in the state starting May 3 — by granting abortion providers’ request for a preliminary injunction. Among other provisions, H.B. 467 bans abortion care from being provided anywhere but at a hospital, even though abortion remains legal up until 18 weeks of pregnancy. Because licensed clinics rather than hospitals provide over 95% of abortions in Utah, and Planned Parenthood Association of Utah health centers are not licensed as hospitals, this law amounts to a functional abortion ban across the state.

The supplemental complaint against H.B. 467 was filed as part of PPAU’s existing lawsuit against the state’s trigger ban law, which would have banned nearly all abortions if not enjoined by the district court last summer.

As a result, abortion care remains legal and available in Utah up to 18 weeks. 

PPAU is represented by lawyers at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, and Zimmerman Booher.

A copy of the supplemental complaint can be found here (PDF)

A copy of the court’s May 2 order can be found here (PDF)

[Photo: PPFA Senior Staff Attorney Hannah Swanson answers questions from the media along with PPAU Interim CEO and President Sarah Stoesz and ACLU of Utah Legal Director John Mejia at a press conference following the April 28, 2023 hearing at Utah's Third District Court.] 

April 2023 Update: Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, ACLU Utah Announce Legal Challenge to HB467

On April 3, 2023, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah (PPAU) filed a new complaint in Utah’s Third Judicial District Court challenging HB 467, a new law that would functionally eliminate access to abortion in the state starting May 3.

PPAU sought a second preliminary injunction blocking key aspects of HB 467 from taking effect on May 3, including the law’s requirement that all abortions take place at a licensed hospital. By restricting abortion services to hospitals, which don’t provide abortions outside of a few exceptions, this law would make it impossible for most Utahns to access abortion care.

The supplemental complaint was filed in PPAU’s existing lawsuit against the state’s trigger ban law, which also would have banned nearly all abortions if not blocked by the same district court last summer.

At a court hearing on April 28, 2023, lawyers from Planned Parenthood argued that HB 467 is a functional abortion ban that should be blocked from taking effect. They made a compelling case that the state’s new requirement that all abortions occur at Utah hospitals does not make abortions safer, it just makes them inaccessible to the thousands of people who need them each year.   

June 2022 Update: Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. State of Utah

On June 25, 2022, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah and the ACLU of Utah sued the State of Utah.

This case challenges S.B. 174, a law that bans and criminalizes almost all abortions in Utah with only three narrow exceptions. S.B. 174, originally passed in 2020, went into effect on June 24, 2022, after SCOTUS reversed Roe v. Wade. Alongside Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) and Zimmerman Booher, the ACLU of Utah has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Utah in state district court arguing this law violates several rights guaranteed by the Utah Constitution. 

2019 Lawsuit – PPAU vs. Miner

On April 10, 2019, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah (PPAU) and the ACLU of Utah Federation (ACLU of Utah) filed a lawsuit to stop H.B. 136 – the 18-week abortion ban passed by the Utah legislature and signed into law by Governor Herbert. 

On April 18, 2019, our request for a preliminary injunction was granted to stop enforcement of H.B. 136 from going into effect during the duration of the lawsuit. 

Resources and Links: 

Complaint filed as Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Miner (2019) (PDF)

Press release for the April 10, 2019 press conference (PDF)

Press release about April 18, 2019 temporary injunction (PDF)

Press Statement on Court's Decision to Allow Limited Discovery in 18-Week Ban Case (PDF)

Text of H.B. 136 (Abortion Amendments) (link)

2018 Lawsuit – Planned Parenthood v. Alex Azar

Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, along with Planned Parenthood in Wisconsin and Ohio, is suing the Trump-Pence Administration to fight for the millions of patients who rely on Title X for health care. On May 2, 2018 Planned Parenthood filed suit in federal district court in Washington, D.C. against the Trump-Pence administration to fight for the four million people who depend on Title X, the nation’s program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care.

The Trump-Pence administration would like to take federal family planning funding away from Planned Parenthood and impose its ideology on people – no matter how many it hurts. They are trying to completely remake the Title X program so that it promotes abstinence instead of access to birth control, and prevents patients from coming to Planned Parenthood health centers.

Planned Parenthood in Utah has been the sole direct grantee for the nation’s family planning program, known as Title X, since the early 1980s. Last year, PPAU spent $2 million dollars in Title X funding to provide subsidized and low-cost care to over 36,000 Utahns. Over the course of the last 30 years they helped over a million men, women, and young people plan their families and stay healthy.

Planned Parenthood believes our bodies are our own – and shouldn’t be at the mercy of the Trump-Pence administration. Therefore, we vow to fight for our patients’ health and rights – and for the millions of people in this country who need access to affordable quality reproductive health care.


2015 Lawsuit – PPAU v. Gary Herbert

Planned Parenthood Association of Utah sued Governor Gary Herbert in order to protect our constitutional rights. We are happy to say that we succeeded in doing this.

On April 28, 2017 the parties jointly filed a stipulation with the Court requesting the entry of a permanent injunction order. On May 8th, the injunction was signed by the Court. Now the terms of the Preliminary Injunction Order, which prohibited the State of Utah from blocking pass-through federal funds to PPAU for unconstitutional reasons, will continue indefinitely.

What this means is that PPAU will continue to receive grant funds through the Utah Department of Health, and the State cannot deny Planned Parenthood grant funding in the future because it provides safe and legal abortion.

On July 7, 2016 the Tenth Circuit overturned Judge Waddoups’ decision denying our request for a preliminary injunction against Governor Herbert and the Utah Department of Health (UDOH). The Tenth Circuit panel found that the directive from Governor Herbert was in violation of our First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The panel overturned the District Courts decision and remanded the case back to the District Court and ordered them to reinstate the preliminary injunction.

The entire case began in August 2015, when Governor Herbert gave a verbal directive to state agencies to cut off federal pass-through funding to Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. This order endangers four programs that receive funds from the federal government through the Utah Department of Health:

1. A program that pays for Chlamydia and gonorrhea testing and treatment for at-risk Utahns,

2. An after school education program funded by a Personal Responsibility and Education Program (PREP) grant to support PPPAU’s education team in replicating and training on an evidence-based curriculum to reduce teen pregnancy rates and increase academic performance,

3. An after school program funded by Utah Abstinence Education Program to promote abstinence from sexual activity with teens, and

4. A 5-year cooperative project to create a system to upgrade the UDOH’s system for submitting STD test results and facilitating statistical analysis.

Plain and simple, Governor Herbert was influenced by highly-edited, secretly recorded, and since-discredited videos that claim to show Planned Parenthood doctors outside of our state discussing reimbursements for fetal tissue donation. These videos were recorded as part of a multi-year undercover sting by extreme anti-abortion activists whose sole intention is to end safe and legal abortion. Governor Herbert cut funding despite the fact that multiple investigations of Planned Parenthood affiliates in other states have turned up nothing, and the fact that we do not, and have never, participated in fetal tissue donation.

In September 2015, Planned Parenthood Association of Utah hired Peggy Tomsic and her team from Magleby, Cataxinos & Greenwood (the same attorneys that brought marriage equality to Utah) to file a lawsuit against Governor Herbert and the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) in the United States Court for the District of Utah on behalf of Planned Parenthood. Our lawsuit claims the State’s action violates PPAU’s rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and threatens imminent and irreparable harm to PPAU and the thousands of women, men, and teens of Utah who rely on Planned Parenthood Association of Utah for critical reproductive health care and education. We asked the courts to issue a preliminary injunction to stop Governor Herbert’s directive, and a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) was issued that kept the funding in place through December 31, 2015 while Judge Waddoups considered whether to issue the injunction.






PPAU vs. Herbert 10th Circuit Decision



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