Wyoming becomes first US state to ban medication abortion
Wyoming on Friday became the first state in the nation to ban medication abortion after Gov. Mark Gordon signed into law a ban that makes it illegal to sell or prescribe abortion pills.
Senate File 109 makes it unlawful “to prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell or use any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion on any person.”
Violation is punished by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $9,000, though pregnant people “upon whom a chemical abortion is performed or attempted shall not be criminally prosecuted.”
The ban, signed by the Republican governor late Friday, is scheduled to take effect on July 1, pending any legal action.
Gordon also said he would allow another piece of legislation, a much broader ban that would make it a felony to perform an abortion, to become law on Sunday without his signature.
House Bill 152, which bans the procedure with very limited exceptions, is set to take effect if last year’s abortion law is found unconstitutional.
In a letter to the secretary of state, Gordon said he acted “without bias and after extensive prayer to allow these bills to become law.”
Antonio Serrano, advocacy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming, said the governor’s move was “disappointing,” but vowed to keep fighting for abortion rights.
“A person’s health, not politics, should guide important medical decisions — including the decision to have an abortion,” he said. “Everyone deserves the right to control their own bodies and to make their own decisions about their lives and futures, free from punishment, judgment or political interference.”
Wyoming’s ban comes as an upcoming ruling in Texas could essentially ban medication abortion nationwide.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, is expected to rule on a lawsuit filed last year by anti-abortion organizations.
The groups seek to force the Food and Drug Administration to withdraw its decades-old approval of mifepristone, one of the two medications used for the medical termination of pregnancies.
If Kacsmaryk sides with the abortion opponents, the results would be “devastating,” reproductive rights advocates say.
“The impact of this case could be sweeping and horrifying,” researchers with Washington-based rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America said last month.
“Medication abortion is now used to provide more than half of all abortion care nationwide. If mifepristone were made unavailable throughout the country, it would eliminate the most commonly used method of abortion care.”
On Wednesday, Kacsmaryk vowed to make a ruling “as soon as possible.”
With News Wire Services