Utah Republican Gov. Spencer Cox signed H.B. 467 into law on Wednesday, which outlaws providing licenses to abortion clinics in the state, and forces those in operation to close either by year’s end or when their license expires — whichever comes first. The law will take effect on May 3.

“Yesterday, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed HB467 into law, legislation that will functionally eliminate access to abortion in the state on May 3, even though abortion is currently legal in Utah up until 18 weeks,” read a statement from Planned Parenthood released on Thursday.

People gather at the state Capitol to rally in support of abortion rights on May 3, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

George Frey / Getty Images

In a news conference on Thursday, Cox defended his signing of the bill, but denied that it would ostensibly ban abortion access in the state. He clarified that abortions would still be able to be performed in hospital settings 

After the law passed the House and Senate less than two weeks ago, Planned Parenthood of Utah took to Twitter to express concern at the legislation, writing, “Abortion is a critical component of health care and a safe procedure with a low risk of complications—there is no justification to ban access.”

“Instead of working to make health care more accessible, reliable, and affordable, Utah politicians have enacted a law that only creates more uncertainty, chaos, and confusion for patients — all to circumvent the judicial process in the name of their anti-abortion crusade,” said the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, Karrie Galloway.

“Nothing in this bill makes abortions in Utah safer, more affordable, or more accessible for the thousands of Utahns who needs this essential health care each year,” added Galloway.