Cheyenne, Wyoming. Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed into law Friday night a law banning abortion pills in the state and also allowed a separate measure restricting abortion to become law without his signature.
The pill is already banned in 13 states with total bans on all forms of abortion, and in 15 states access to abortion pills is already restricted. The Republican governor’s decision comes after the issue of access to abortion pills came into the spotlight in a Texas court this week. There, a federal judge raised the issue of a Christian group’s efforts to overturn a decade-long U.S. approval of the leading abortion drug mifepristone.
Medical abortion became the preferred method of terminating pregnancies in the US even before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which had defended the right to abortion for nearly five decades. The combination of two tablets of mifepristone and another drug is the most common form of abortion in the US.
Wyoming’s ban on abortion pills will go into effect in July pending any legal action that could potentially delay it. The date of entry into force of the radical law to ban all abortions, which Gordon allowed to become law, is not specified in the bill.
With an earlier court-related ban, abortion currently remains legal in the state until viability, or when the fetus can survive outside the uterus.
In a statement, Gordon expressed concern that the latest legislation, dubbed Life Is a Human Rights Act, would result in a lawsuit that would “delay any decision on the constitutionality of Wyoming’s abortion ban.”
He noted that earlier in the day, plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit filed a protest against the new law in case it did not veto it.
“I believe this issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible so that the issue of abortion in Wyoming can be finally resolved, and this is best done through a vote of the people,” Republican Gordon said in a statement.
In a statement, Wyoming’s ACLU advocacy director Antonio Serrano criticized Gordon’s decision to sign a ban on abortion pills, which are already banned in a number of states that have total bans on all types of abortion.
“The health of the individual, not politics, should guide important medical decisions, including the decision to have an abortion,” Serrano said.
Of the 15 states where access to the pill is restricted, six require an in-person visit to a doctor. These laws could withstand litigation; states have long had power over how doctors, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals practice medicine.
States also set rules for telemedicine consultations used to prescribe medications. Typically, this means that healthcare providers in states with restrictions on abortion pills could face sanctions, such as fines or license suspension, for trying to mail the pills.
Women are already traveling across state lines to places where abortion pills are easier to access. This trend is expected to increase.
Since Rowe’s ban on abortion last June, restrictions on abortion have been put in place by the states, and the tide has changed rapidly. Thirteen states now ban abortions at any stage of pregnancy, and another, Georgia, bans them when a heart is detected or at about six weeks pregnant.
Courts have suspended enforcement of abortion bans or severe restrictions in Arizona, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming. Idaho courts forced the state to allow emergency abortions.