Wyoming Judge Temporarily Blocks State’s Ban on Abortion Pills

A Wyoming judge on Thursday temporarily blocked the first state law specifically banning the use of the pill for abortion, the country’s most common method.

Just a week before the ban was scheduled to take effect, Teton County District Court Judge Melissa Owens issued a temporary injunction, suspending the act pending further court proceedings.

Judge Owens, who ruled in court after nearly two hours of hearings, said the plaintiffs, including the four health care providers, “clearly showed a high likelihood of success on the merits, and the plaintiffs’ judgment.” At least some may suffer irreparable injuries.” when the ban comes into force;

Medical abortion is already outlawed in states with almost total bans that ban all forms of abortion. However, Wyoming became the first state to ban the use of pills for abortion apart from a general ban. The law was due to come into force on July 1.

BanThe bill, passed by Congress in March and signed by Gov. Mark Gordon, makes it illegal to “prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell, or use drugs for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion.”

Doctors and others who violate the law will be charged with a misdemeanor and face up to six months in prison and a $9,000 fine. The law stipulates that pregnant women are exempt from prosecution and fines.

A year after the Supreme Court overturned the nation’s abortion rights, the Republican-controlled Wyoming legislature is seeking to ban abortions in the state.

Judge Owens last year ordered a temporary, near-total ban on abortion, which he said seemed inconsistent with changes to the Wyoming constitution that guarantee the right of adults to make their own medical decisions. In 2012, an overwhelming majority of Wyoming residents voted in favor of the amendment.

In March, the state legislature passed and the governor signed a new bill banning abortion almost entirely, seeking to sidestep a constitutional amendment by declaring abortion not medical. Judge Owens questioned the state’s claim that abortion is not medical and temporarily suspended the law shortly after it was signed into law.

The question of whether abortion is a medical practice was also a key aspect of Thursday’s hearings on a ban on medical abortion. Wyoming Assistant Special Attorney General Jay Jade said that even if doctors and other health care providers had to be involved in abortion, “abortion does not involve medical care because it does not allow a woman’s body to recover from pain.” I don’t,” he argued. , physical illness or disease. “

Judge Owens questioned Jerde’s argument. “Essentially, the government under this law will make decisions for women. Instead of women making their own health care choices, the overwhelming majority of Wyoming believe we should.” I made a decision,” she said.

The plaintiffs in this case challenge all prohibitions in various lawsuits, only two of which offer abortions in Wyoming. An obstetrician-gynecologist who frequently treats high-risk pregnancies. Emergency room nurse. Funds that fund abortion patients. Women who argued that the Jewish faith required an abortion when the physical or mental health or life of the pregnant woman was in danger.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Mercy Bramlett told the court that a ban on medical abortion would have a huge impact because pills are used in nearly all recent abortions in the state. Nationwide, pills are now used for more than half of all abortions. He’s the only provider in Wyoming that offers one method, surgical abortion, anymore.

“This ban, which bans only medical abortions, not all abortions, completely undermines the state’s stated goal of preserving prenatal life and is physically, economically and logistically more invasive. surgical abortion,” Bramlett said in court. “This law tells women, ‘You can have an abortion in Wyoming, but you can’t use safe and effective FDA-approved drugs.'”

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