SALT LAKE CITY – A group of Utah doctors has denounced a cease and desist letter sent to abortion providers by a group of Republican Utah lawmakers that threatens legal action, despite a judge suspending the abortion activation law. from Utah.
The Utah Medical Association joins others who have criticized the letter, including the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, the ACLU and legal analysts, who say lawmakers backing cease and desist letters are not legally sound. .
Shortly after the letter was released, one lawmaker said he would retract his signature on the letters, while two other lawmakers issued a clarification on the original letter.
A coalition of Republican Utah lawmakers on Thursday signed cease-and-desist letters to abortion providers and funders, warning them to stop providing abortion services.
On Thursday, September 15, Rep. Kera Biekrland, R-Morgan, and Karianne Lisbonbee, R-Clearfield, sent cease and desist letters to abortion providers and funders bearing the signatures of several Utah Republican legislators and candidates.
Lawmakers told recipients of the letter that abortion is a serious crime in Utah and could face criminal prosecution, even if there is a preliminary block on the state’s activation ban.
“The lawmakers also caution that anyone who is currently violating Utah’s activation ban will be prosecuted in the future for those crimes if the preliminary injunction is vacated or reversed on appeal,” the letter’s press release read. of cease and desist, which includes “anyone who ships or receives abortion medications in interstate commerce.”
Lawmakers say abortion providers have been ignoring local and federal criminal statutes after Judge Andrew Stone’s temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on July 28.
“Judge Stone’s injunction does not suspend the trigger ban itself, and cannot protect abortion providers and their accomplices from the consequences of their violations of the state’s abortion statutes if the injunction is struck down or it is overturned on appeal,” the press release continues. “Judge Stone’s injunction also does nothing to shield abortion providers from the requirements of federal law, such as criminal prohibitions on shipping or receiving abortion pills.”
Utah Press Release on Cease and Desist Letters 09.15.2022 by Michael Houck on Scribd
Both lawmakers promised to introduce legislation that will automatically revoke the medical licenses of any medical professional who violates the activation ban. The new legislation will also allow the Utah Attorney General and district attorneys to prosecute violators if local prosecutors fail or refuse to do so.
“Abortion is still a criminal offense in Utah, and the trigger ban is in place,” said Lisonbee, who signed the cease and desist letters. “The legislature will ensure that anyone who violates the laws of our state is held accountable for their criminal acts. Anyone found to be performing or assisting abortions in violation of our statutes must stop immediately or face future criminal prosecution.”
Lawmakers sent cease and desist letters to Planned Parenthood Association Utah, Wasatch Women’s Center, National Abortion Federation, National Association of Abortion Funds, Utah Abortion Fund, and David K. Turok of the University of Utah.
On Friday, September 16, KSL Legal Analyst Greg Skordas told KSL Newsradio that lawmakers who support cease and desist letters are legally wrong.
“The law (trigger) has been suspended. It is not current Utah law. There is an older activation law, which allows the procedure to be carried out for up to 18 weeks,” Skordas said. “But what they are saying is that the original law that has been suspended is the law of the land and, in my opinion, that is not entirely true.”
Karrie Galloway, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Utah, also made a statement about the legality of the letters, calling them a trick to scare people.
“Our attorneys are reviewing the letter, but this appears to be a ruse to further harass abortion providers and stigmatize patients who need care. PPAU is providing abortion services in full compliance with current law and always has,” the statement read.
This is a political stunt. Final point. Anti-abortion politicians want to bypass the court system by harassing providers and instilling a culture of fear. PPAU provides abortion services in full compliance with current law and always has. Abortion is legal up to 18 weeks. https://t.co/5gJyHOfsAP
— PPAC Utah (@ppacutah) September 16, 2022
The UMA denounced the cease and desist letters, in a statement, as they appear to threaten doctors with future prosecution, even if the practice is currently legal.
“Physicians must be able to rely on clear, established laws and regulations to help them learn what is allowed and how they can best care for their patients. Threats of retroactive prosecution if the current law is ever changed because the triggering law goes into effect does not stand up to legal scrutiny,” UMA President Mark R. Greenwood, MD, said in the statement.
Meanwhile, Pro-Life Utah Executive Director Deanna Holland said her organization appreciates the lawmakers’ letters and supports them for holding abortion providers accountable for illegal abortions:
“It is unconscionable that these vendors have ignored the Utah statute and continued to kill since the end of Roe v Wade and the enactment of the Utah Trigger Law.”
After the cease and desist letters were sent, Rep. Steve Handy, R-Clearfield, took to KSL Newsradio to clarify that he retracts his signature on the letters and that abortion remains legal for up to 18 weeks.
“My understanding when the letter was presented to me is that it was more of a warning,” Handy told Jeff Caplan’s Afternoon News. “It seems to me that the letter is a bit harsher than I remember agreeing to sign.”
Handy mentioned that he voted for the bill and wants to help women get proper health care.
Utah Letter to Utah Abortion…by Michael Houck
Birkeland and Lisonbee issued a clarification on the letters sent, saying the letters were not drafted by legislative attorneys.
“We want to clarify that the press release and letter we issued was not a legal analysis by the Utah Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, but rather our opinion and the opinion of the legislators who signed it,” the updated statement read. . “While we are incredibly disappointed in the judge’s decision to stay enforcement of SB 174, we respect the law and the process.”
Below are the Republican representatives and candidates who added their signatures to the letters:
- walt brooks
- Cory Maloy
- ken ivory
- Jordan Teuscher
- Kera Birkeland
- Karianne Lisonbee
- Cheryl Acton
- Melissa Ballard
- adam robertson
- judy rohner
- jon hawkins
- strong brand
- mike petersen
- Stephen Whyte
- Stephen Handy (retracted)
- matt gwynn
- shipping rex
- Charles Albert
- Kay Christofferson
- Colin Jack
- Steve Lund
- Brady Brammer
- Candidate Stephanie Gricius
- Candidate Katy Hall
Source : ksltv.com