Wyoming Governor Signs Law Banning Abortion Pills
Late on Friday, Wyoming governor Mark Gordon (R.) signed into law a ban of abortion pills. He also allowed another abortion bill to become law without his signature.
Pills like mifepristone are the most common method of ending a pregnancy and they are becoming one of the most important fronts in the fight over abortion.
“It shall be unlawful to prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell or use any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion on any person,” reads the Wyoming law. A doctor or any other person who violates this provision is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $9,000 fine. The woman upon whom the abortion is performed will not be criminally prosecuted.
The law does not cover morning-after pills or treatment to protect a woman whose health is at imminent risk. Additionally, the law contains incest and sexual-assault exceptions.
The bill was proposed in the wake of Wyoming’s trigger ban on nearly all abortions being blocked in court last year. A final decision in that case is still pending. Gordon, who signed the trigger ban, has said he is strongly pro-life.
The Wyoming governor allowed another bill to become law Friday without his signature. This bill bans the distribution or sale of abortion pills and proposes penalties of up to $20,000, five years in prison, or both. According to the Washington Post, Gordon said discrepancies between the two bills may prove problematic and that he expects them to be challenged in court.
The governor added that a referendum on the issue is needed: “I believe this question needs to be decided as soon as possible so that the issue of abortion in Wyoming can be finally resolved, and that is best done with a vote of the people.”
Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in the Dobbs case, abortion pills, which account for half of all U.S. abortions, have become increasingly contentious. The pills have been banned in 13 states as part of larger blanket bans on all forms of abortion, and 15 additional states have limited access to them, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
In Texas, a federal judge is considering a request from the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to revoke or suspend the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of mifepristone and misoprostol.
The lawsuit claims that the FDA never had the authority to approve of the two-pill regimen when it did so nearly a quarter century ago. ADF also says the FDA failed to properly study the safety of the regimen, and for almost two decades stonewalled doctors who were attempting to challenge its approval.
Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk heard arguments in the case Wednesday. In an effort to avoid disruptions, he tried to keep plans for the hearing quiet until the night before.
Earlier this month, California governor Gavin Newsom threatened to boycott Walgreens after the pharmacy chain wrote to nearly two dozen Republican attorneys general saying it would not dispense in their states, where pharmacists cannot legally dispense the pills.
National Review confirmed with Walgreens that while it is not currently dispensing abortion pills anywhere in the country, it is seeking certification from the FDA to do so in states where the practice remains legal.