Previous court rulings were the reasoning behind Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill’s refusal to enforce Utah’s newly-passed law on abortions.
The new law bans many abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy. According to Gill, there was previously a 22-week ban that was viewed as unconstitutional. Due to this, he stated that the 18-week ban should be viewed the same way.
Gill’s blatant refusal has been cited as being too bold due to the probability of the law being challenged and the courts being the ones that would ultimately determine whether or not the law was constitutional. While it was questioned whether or not Gill’s refusal benefited him, he adamantly stated that his personal views were irrelevant on this topic.
Furthermore, Gill did agree that he would enforce the law if it is upheld through the U.S. Supreme Court. The state of Utah is currently being sued by Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The organizations are urging the state to stop the ban from taking effect.
However, bills that ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen at around six or eight weeks of pregnancy, have already passed in a number of states.
Under the new law, Utah would make exceptions for unique cases where issues such as incest and rape were present and would not lead to charges against the mothers. Second-degree felony charges may be placed against the doctors who perform an abortion after 18 weeks, resulting in penalties of one to 15 years in prison.