Lawsuit seeks to block abortion pill ban in Wyoming
CHEYENNE, Wyoming (AP) — Abortion rights advocates filed an amended lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block a new ban on abortion pills in Wyoming from going into effect.
A group hoping to open what will become the state’s second abortion clinic filed the amended lawsuit days after Republican Gov. Mark Gordon signed the nation’s first explicit ban on abortion pills. Barring court intervention, the ban will come into effect on July 1.
Abortion rights advocates have already tried to block a separate sweeping abortion ban that went into effect on Sunday in Wyoming without the governor’s signature. This law aims to overcome the objections that led the judge to suspend the previous injunction.
According to the lawsuit, the abortion pill ban and sweeping ban conflict and create confusion about what is and is not allowed under the new laws. If they are allowed to act, “the fundamental rights of Wyoming women and their families will be taken away by the state government and those rights will cease to exist,” the amended lawsuit states.
Both of Wyoming’s new abortion bans make exceptions to save the life of a pregnant woman, as well as cases of rape or incest that are reported to the police.
Until Gordon signed the ban on medical abortion, no state passed a law specifically banning the pill, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. However, abortion pills have already been banned in 13 other states with total bans on abortion, and access to the pill has already been restricted in 15 states.
Medical abortions are also the subject of a separate lawsuit in Texas, where anti-abortion petitioners petitioned a federal judge to overturn the FDA’s approval of mifepristone in 2000. The combination of two tablets of mifepristone and another drug is the most common form of abortion in the US.
There is only one abortion provider in Wyoming, the Women’s Health Clinic in Jackson, which only provides medical abortions but has canceled appointments after a wide state ban went into effect this week. Teton County District Court Judge Melissa Owens is due to hold a hearing on Wednesday to consider blocking this new ban while the lawsuit continues.
Wellspring Health Access, which is seeking to block a ban on abortion pills and broader measures, plans to open a clinic in Casper that will provide surgical and medical abortions. After an arson attack prevented the clinic from opening as planned last summer, organizers hoped to reopen it next month.
“Wyoming residents deserve access to the full range of reproductive health services, including both surgical and medical abortion, which is why we are fighting to make medical abortion legal in Wyoming,” Wellspring Health Access President Julie Burkart said in a statement. .
Also sued were four women, including two gynecologists, and Chelsea’s Fund, a Wyoming abortion access advocacy group.
Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill “will vigorously defend the legality of this law, as of all statutes when their constitutionality is challenged,” Gordon spokesman Michael Perlman said in an email.
Until this week, abortion remained legal in Wyoming despite a ban that followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reverse its landmark abortion ruling, Roe v. Wade. Postponing the ban in July, Owens ruled that it could harm women with pregnancy complications and their doctors.
She also found that a 2012 state constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to make one’s own health care decisions could allow abortion.
The new sweeping ban states that abortion is not medical treatment and therefore the amendment does not cover abortions.
After the roe deer changed course in June, restrictions on abortion were put in place by the states and things quickly changed.
Other states where courts have suspended bans or severe restrictions are Arizona, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina, and Utah. Idaho courts forced the state to allow emergency abortions.
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