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Wyoming Becomes First State to Ban Abortion Pills

On Friday, Wyoming became the first state in the nation to ban abortion pills after Governor Mark Gordon signed a bill making it illegal to “prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell or use any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion.”[0] Antonio Serrano, ACLU of Wyoming advocacy director said, “A person’s health, not politics, should guide important medical decisions – including the decision to have an abortion. Abortion is safe, common and essential. Deeply private, personal and unique decisions about abortion should be made by pregnant people in consultation with their doctors – who should be able to treat their patients according to their best medical judgement.”[1]

Anyone found guilty of giving out, selling, prescribing, or utilizing abortion medications can be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a potential jail sentence of up to six months and a fine of up to $9,000.[2] Women who seek abortion medication for themselves are not included in this.[2] Gordon also allowed House Bill 152 – Life is a Human Right Act to go into law.[3] He expressed worry that the introduction of this new law will only cause yet another legal case, thus postponing any clarification of the abortion ban's constitutional status in Wyoming.[1]

Gordon said if the Legislature wants to address the issue of abortion, it may have to come through a constitutional amendment and be voted on directly by the people.[4] He added, “I have a strong record of protecting the lives of the unborn, as well as their mothers. I believe all life is sacred and that every individual, including the unborn, should be treated with dignity and compassion.”[2]

Meanwhile, in Texas, Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, is expected to rule imminently on whether a commonly used abortion pill, mifepristone, should be sold in the US, in a ruling that could curtail access to the drug nationwide.[5]

Abortions would be permitted in instances of rape and incest, as well as if a woman's life or health were in danger.[4] Exceptions will be made in cases of ectopic pregnancies, fetuses with fatal anomalies, and women requiring cancer treatment, among others, in order to allow abortions.[2] Committing an offense against the new law is considered a felony and can result in up to five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $20,000.[2]

0. “Wyoming just became the first state to ban medication abortion” Business Insider, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/wyoming-first-state-to-ban-medication-abortion-2023-3

1. “US governor signs measure banning abortion pills in Wyoming” Al Jazeera English, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/3/18/us-governor-signs-measure-prohibiting-abortion-pills-in-wyoming

2. “Abortion pills now banned in Wyoming after governor signs bill into law” WABC-TV, 18 Mar. 2023, https://abc7ny.com/abortion-pills-now-banned-in-wyoming-after-governor-signs-bill-into/12973911/

3. “New Pro-Life Bills Signed into Law Draws Criticism from ACLU” SweetwaterNOW, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.sweetwaternow.com/new-pro-life-bills-signed-into-law-draws-criticism-from-aclu

4. “Wyoming becomes first US state to ban medication abortion” New York Daily News, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ny-wyoming-first-state-ban-medication-abortion-20230318-dcuq5movkzdtlkouvqavgu4msq-story.html

5. “Abortion pills banned in Wyoming as Texas judge considers nationwide decision” BBC, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-64998920

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