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Utah

Trigger Law Statutory Cite(s)

Does this law have a potential impact on IVF/Reproductive medicine?

Why or why not?

  • This bill could be interpreted to have an impact on ART under the provision that defines abortion to include “[any] intentional killing or attempted killing of a live unborn child through a medical procedure carried out by a physician or through a substance used under the direction of a physician.”

    Most of the provisions of the statute address termination of a woman’s pregnancy, but the term “live unborn child” is not defined, and one could argue that discarding an embryo or donating an embryo for research use is an intentional or attempted killing of a live unborn child and constitutes an abortion under this definition. 

Does this law explicitly reference IVF, assisted reproductive technology or reproductive medicine?

N/A

Are there any penalties in this law that could apply to ART procedures?

While the statute doesn’t include any specific references to ART, performing an abortion in violation of the provision is a second degree felony, and the Department of Health is to report a physician’s violation of any provision to the state agency that regulates physician licensure.

Relevant definitions

  • "Abortion" means:
    • the intentional termination or attempted termination of human pregnancy after implantation through a substance used under the direction of a physician;
    • The intentional killing or attempted killing of a live unborn child through a medical procedure carried out by a physician or through a substance used under the direction of a physician; or
    • The intentional causing or attempted causing of a miscarriage through a medical procedure carried out y a physician or through a substance used under the direction of a physician.
  • Abortion does not include:
    • Removal of a dead unborn child;
    • Removal of an ectopic pregnancy; or
    • The killing or attempted killing of an unborn child without the consent of the pregnant woman:
      • The killing or attempted killing is done through a medical procedure carried out by a physician or through a substance used under the direction of a physician; and
      • The physician is unable to obtain consent due to a medical emergency.

Do the definitions/terms of the trigger law apply to other areas of state code?

N/A

What is the “trigger” for this law to take effect?

The trigger law is contingently effective “on the date that the legislative general counsel certifies to the Legislative Management Committee that a court of binding authority has held that a state may prohibit the abortion of an unborn child at any time during the gestational period.”

Key provisions: What does the law prohibit and when does it apply?

  • Abortion may be performed in the state only if:
    • The abortion is necessary to prevent death or substantial impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant person;
    • Two physicians concur that the child has a lethal fetal defect or severe brain abnormality; or
    • The person is a victim of rape or incest which has previously been reported to law enforcement.
  • A person will be charged with a second-degree felony; an abortion clinic may lose their license; and a physician will be reported if they perform an abortion that does not meet an exception. 

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