Gov. Mark Gordon of Wyoming, in the United Of America has signed a bill prohibiting abortion pills in the state and also allowed a separate measure restricting 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 in a Texas court. A federal judge raised questions about a Christian group’s effort to overturn the decades-old U.S. approval of a leading abortion drug, mifepristone.
Abortions became the preferred method for ending pregnancy in the U.S. before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the ruling that protected the right to abortion for nearly five decades. A two-pill combination of mifepristone and another drug is the most common form of abortion in the U.S.
Wyoming’s ban on abortion pills would take effect in July, pending any legal action that could potentially delay that. The implementation date of the sweeping legislation banning all abortions that Gordon allowed to go into law is not specified in the bill, with an earlier ban tied up in court, abortion currently remains legal in the state up to viability, or when the fetus could survive outside the womb.
Gordon expressed concern that the latter law, dubbed the Life is a Human Right Act would result in a lawsuit that will “delay any resolution to the constitutionality of the abortion ban in Wyoming.”
He noted that earlier in the day, plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit filed a challenge to the new law in the event he did not issue a veto.
“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,” Gov. Gordon, said in a statement.
In a statement, Wyoming ACLU advocacy director Antonio Serrano criticized Gordon’s decision to sign the ban on abortion pills, which are already prohibited in a number of states that have total bans on all types of abortion.
States also set the rules for telemedicine consultations used to prescribe medications. Generally that means health providers in states with restrictions on abortion pills could face penalties, such as fines or license suspension, for trying to send pills through the mail.
Since the reversal of Roe last June, abortion restrictions have been up to states and the landscape has shifted quickly. Thirteen states are now enforcing bans on abortion at any point in pregnancy, and one more, Georgia, bans it once cardiac activity can be detected, or at about six weeks’ gestation.
Courts have put on hold enforcement of abortion bans or deep restrictions in Arizona, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming. Idaho courts have forced the state to allow abortions during medical emergencies.