CHEYENNE, Wyoming (AP) — Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed into law Friday night a bill banning abortion pills in the state and also allowed a separate measure limiting abortion to become law without his signature.
The pills are already banned in 13 states with blanket bans on all forms of abortion, and 15 states already have limited access to abortion pills. The Republican governor’s decision comes after the issue of access to abortion pills took center stage this week in a Texas courthouse. A federal judge has raised questions about a Christian group’s attempt to overturn the decades-old US approval of a major abortion drug, mifepristone.
Medical abortion became the preferred method of terminating pregnancy in the United States even before the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, the ruling that protected abortion rights for nearly fifty years. A combination of two mifepristone pills and another drug is the most common form of abortion in the United States
Wyoming’s ban on abortion pills will go into effect in July, pending any lawsuits that could potentially delay it. The implementation date of the broad legislation banning all abortions that Gordon allowed into law is not specified in the bill.
With a previous ban stalled in court, abortion currently remains legal in the state until viability, or when the fetus could survive outside the womb.
In a statement, Gordon expressed concern that the latter law, dubbed the Life is a Human Right Act, would result in a lawsuit that would “delay any resolution to the constitutionality of Wyoming’s abortion ban.”
He noted that earlier in the day, plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit appealed the new law in case it failed to issue a veto.
“I believe this matter needs to be resolved as soon as possible so that the abortion issue in Wyoming can finally be resolved, and that is best done by a vote of the people,” Gordon, a Republican, said in a statement.
In a statement, Wyoming ACLU Defense Director Antonio Serrano criticized Gordon’s decision to sign off on the ban on abortion pills, which are already banned in a number of states that have blanket bans on all types of abortion pills. abortion.
“A person’s health, not politics, should drive important medical decisions, including the decision to have an abortion,” Serrano said.
Of the 15 states that have limited access to pills, six require an in-person doctor visit. Those laws could stand up to court challenges; states have long had authority over how doctors, pharmacists, and other providers practice medicine.
States also set rules for telehealth consultations used to prescribe medications. Generally this means that health care providers in states with abortion pill restrictions could face penalties, such as fines or license suspension, for attempting to send pills by mail.
Women have already crossed state lines to places where access to the abortion pill is easier. This trend is expected to increase.
Since Roe’s reversal last June, abortion restrictions have been decided by states and the landscape has changed rapidly. Thirteen states are now imposing a ban on abortions at any time in pregnancy, and another, Georgia, bans it once heart activity can be detected, or at about six weeks’ gestation.
Courts have suspended enforcement of abortion bans or deep restrictions in Arizona, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming. Courts in Idaho forced the state to allow abortions during medical emergencies.