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The Latest: Judge allows discovery in abortion-ban case

June 20, 2019
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FILE - In this Tuesday, May 21, 2019, file photo, protester Deanna Holland holds her signs as activists gathered in the Utah State Capitol rotunda in Salt Lake City, to protest abortion bans happening in Utah and around the country. Holland, stood to the side of the room with an anti-abortion sign urging people to care for unborn fetuses. "I want to represent unborn, and give them a voice at this rally," she said. The state of Utah is asking a federal judge to let it gather evidence that a ban on abortion after 18 weeks doesn't place an undue burden on women seeking abortions. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
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FILE - In this Tuesday, May 21, 2019, file photo, protester Deanna Holland holds her signs as activists gathered in the Utah State Capitol rotunda in Salt Lake City, to protest abortion bans happening in Utah and around the country. Holland, stood to the side of the room with an anti-abortion sign urging people to care for unborn fetuses. "I want to represent unborn, and give them a voice at this rally," she said. The state of Utah is asking a federal judge to let it gather evidence that a ban on abortion after 18 weeks doesn't place an undue burden on women seeking abortions. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Latest on a court challenge to Utah’s new abortion ban (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

A federal judge will allow the state of Utah to collect evidence as they defend a new ban on abortions after 18-weeks.

U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said his Thursday ruling doesn’t signal the ultimate outcome of the case, but it would create a complete record for his ultimate decision on whether the ban should stand.

Attorneys for Utah’s chapters of Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union had argued that it wasn’t necessary to collect evidence, since the ban runs afoul of the Supreme Court’s longtime stance that states cannot ban abortion before the fetus is viable outside the womb.

Utah, though, said conducting discovery would show why the law is needed, and create a record for possible future appeals.

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1:15 p.m.

Utah state attorneys want to marshal evidence to defend a new ban on abortions, a step that could prepare the case for a future appeals court amid optimism from anti-abortion advocates about new conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices.

A judge is expected to hear arguments Thursday from the state and the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. The group argues there’s no need to go through the evidence-gathering process, since the ban on abortions after 18 weeks clearly runs afoul of Supreme Court’s longtime stance that states can’t ban abortion before a fetus is viable outside the womb.

Utah is one of a number of conservative-leaning states that passed abortion bans this year. Other states passed more restrictive laws, including bans on abortions after about six weeks.

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