Wyoming on Friday became the first state in the nation to ban medical abortion after Gov. Mark Gordon signed into law a law banning the sale or prescription of abortion pills.
Senate File 109 states that it is illegal “to prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell, or use any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion on any person.”
The offense is punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $9,000, although pregnant persons “who have a chemical abortion performed or attempted will not be criminally prosecuted.”
The ban, signed by the Republican governor late Friday, will take effect July 1, pending any legal action.
Gordon also said he would allow other 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 prohibits the procedure with very limited exceptions, it will take effect if last year’s abortion law is declared unconstitutional.
In a letter to the Secretary of State, Gordon said he acted “without prejudice and after extensive prayer to allow these bills to become law.”
Antonio Serrano, advocacy director for the Wyoming American Civil Liberties Union, 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 abort,” he said. “All people deserve the right to control their own bodies and make their own decisions about their lives and their future, free from punishment, lawsuits or political interference.”
The Wyoming ban comes as an upcoming ruling in Texas could essentially ban medical abortion nationwide.
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US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, is expected to rule on a lawsuit filed last year by anti-abortion organizations.
The groups are seeking to force the Food and Drug Administration to withdraw its decades-old approval of mifepristone, one of two drugs used for the medical termination of pregnancies.
If Kacsmaryk sides with abortion opponents, the results would be “devastating,” reproductive rights advocates say.
“The impact of this case could be sweeping and horrifying,” researchers with the Washington-based rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America said last month.
“Medication abortion is now used to provide more than half of all abortion services across the country. If mifepristone were not available nationwide, it would eliminate the most widely used method of abortion care.”
On Wednesday, Kacsmaryk vowed to make a decision “as soon as possible.”
with cable news services