Utah governor signs bill banning abortion clinics across the state

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(SALT LAKE CITY) — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox has signed a bill into law banning abortion clinics in the state, making it the latest to restrict the procedure since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Cox, a Republican, signed H.B. 467 after it passed the state Senate on March 2 and state House on March 3, both along party lines.

Abortion clinics will be required to close either by the end of the year or when their licensee expires, whichever comes first.

Additionally, after May 2 of this year, the Utah Department of Health and Human Services will not be allowed to grant or renew a license of an abortion clinic.

Under the legislation, all abortions will be required to take place in a hospital, which is defined as “a general hospital licensed by the state.”

Currently, Utah bans abortion after 18 weeks. The ban was passed in 2019 but didn’t go into effect until the Supreme Court overturned Roe. H.B. 467 also removes the rape and incest exemption from this law.

Cox previously told reporters he would sign the bill, which also defined the term “abortion” to remove any confusion surrounding the law.

“One of the concerns with the trigger bill that medical providers had across the state was there a lack of clarity that would have made it hard for them to perform legal abortions,” Cox said at the time.

The governor’s office referred ABC News to Cox’s press conference on PBS Thursday when reached for comment.

Anti-abortion groups, such as Pro-Life Utah, applauded the decision.

“Thank you, Governor Cox for signing this bill into law!” the group said in a statement. “We value your commitment to protect the pre-born.”

However, abortion rights advocates, slammed the bill and said it basically eliminates access in the state.

“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, said in a statement when the bill first passed the state House. “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.”

Utah lawmakers also passed a law in 2020 banning all abortions except if the mother’s health is in danger or in cases of rape and incest reported to the police.

However, the ban was blocked from going into effect after the 3rd District Court issued an injunction, which was upheld by the state Supreme Court.

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