Utah’s laws regarding reproductive health are changing rapidly, and we know many of you have questions and concerns. We are committed to providing accurate information as well as support and guidance to help you make informed health care decisions. Please do not hesitate to contact your health care team directly if you have questions. Although the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which caused Utah’s “trigger law,” Utah Senate Bill 174, to go into effect, a Utah state court granted a preliminary injunction on July 11, 2022, preventing the “trigger law” from being enforced. However, Utah House Bill 136, passed by the Utah Legislature in 2019, is now in effect. House Bill 136 prohibits abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy except in limited circumstances. As a result, it is expected that abortions prior to 18 weeks of pregnancy will remain legal in Utah for so long as the preliminary injunction remains in effect.
Understanding Senate Bill 174 (SB 174)
If the current restraining order is lifted and SB 174 once again takes effect, there will be significant changes to the reproductive care that Utah health care providers can offer. Here’s what we know at this moment.
SB 174 law bans the majority of abortion procedures in the state unless the abortion is performed by a physician in an approved clinical setting and (i) the abortion is necessary to avert either the death of the pregnant patient or a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant patient; or (ii) two maternal fetal medicine physicians concur in writing that the fetus (a) has a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal, (b) has a severe brain abnormality that is uniformly diagnosable, or (iii) the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest and the physician performing the abortion verifies the rape or incest has been reported to law enforcement. Please talk to your health care provider if you need information on pregnancy termination and they will guide you on what options may be available.
Ectopic Pregnancies and Miscarriage
SB 174 will not change the treatment of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage. If you suspect you are having a miscarriage or experiencing complications from an ectopic pregnancy, you should not hesitate to contact your provider or go to the emergency department.
SB 174 does not make any changes to the availability of birth control. Birth control is legal, and we will support you in finding the right approach to family planning. Vasectomies, birth control pills, IUDs, and many other forms of pregnancy prevention are available, and we encourage you to speak to your health care provider about which option is right for you.
SB 174 does not affect Plan B (Levonorgestrel), sometimes referred to as the “morning after pill.” This is a safe and effective emergency contraceptive medication that can be taken to prevent a pregnancy by preventing ovulation. It is legal and is available over the counter. Another pill, called Ella (Ulipristal), is available by prescription, and works for up to five days by blocking ovulation. Your health care provider can prescribe this ahead of time so you have it on hand if you ever need it.
SB 174 does not prohibit infertility and IVF treatments. Please talk to your physician if you are currently undergoing or plan to pursue infertility treatments at U of U Health.
While state laws may change, what won’t change is our commitment to providing exceptional and compassionate patient care to all our patients. We are here for you.