The Latest: Judge allows discovery in abortion-ban case
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on a court challenge to Utah’s new abortion ban (all times local):
A federal judge will allow the state of Utah to collect evidence as they defend a new ban on abortions after 18-weeks.
U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said his Thursday ruling doesn’t signal the ultimate outcome of the case, but it would create a complete record for his ultimate decision on whether the ban should stand.
Attorneys for Utah’s chapters of Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union had argued that it wasn’t necessary to collect evidence, since the ban runs afoul of the Supreme Court’s longtime stance that states cannot ban abortion before the fetus is viable outside the womb.
Utah, though, said conducting discovery would show why the law is needed, and create a record for possible future appeals.
Utah state attorneys want to marshal evidence to defend a new ban on abortions, a step that could prepare the case for a future appeals court amid optimism from anti-abortion advocates about new conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices.
A judge is expected to hear arguments Thursday from the state and the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. The group argues there’s no need to go through the evidence-gathering process, since the ban on abortions after 18 weeks clearly runs afoul of Supreme Court’s longtime stance that states can’t ban abortion before a fetus is viable outside the womb.
Utah is one of a number of conservative-leaning states that passed abortion bans this year. Other states passed more restrictive laws, including bans on abortions after about six weeks.