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Wyoming Becomes First US State to Ban Abortion Pills

Governor of Wyoming signed a bill that made prescribing or selling abortion pills illegal, thus making them the first US state to ban them.[0] The “Life is a Human Right Act” became state law on Friday night, making it the first US state to ban the use of abortion pills.

Gov. Mark Gordon signed the bill which makes prescribing or selling abortion pills a felony punishable by 5 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $20,000.[1] He expressed in a statement that he signed the bill “without bias and after extensive prayer” and cited his pro-life voting record.

The “Life is a Human Right Act” modifies an existing abortion ban in the state, banning abortions except in cases of rape and incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger. Exceptions are made for certain medical situations, such as when the fetus has a lethal anomaly.[2]

The ban on abortion pills comes as the US waits for a judge in Texas to rule in a case that will decide national access to the abortion pill mifepristone.[3] The ruling banning the restriction of abortion pills would be one of the biggest reproductive rights controversies in this nation since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last year.[4]

At least twelve states have passed laws prohibiting almost all abortions, yet some of them have been blocked by the courts.[0] Twelve states have now implemented prohibitions on abortion at any stage of pregnancy, with an additional state, Georgia, prohibiting the practice when cardiac activity is detected, which generally occurs around the sixth week of gestation.[5]

Enforcement of abortion bans or severe limitations in Arizona, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming has been suspended by courts.[5] Courts in Idaho have mandated that the state must permit abortions in the event of a medical emergency.[5]

The new law in Wyoming will take effect from 1 July and the sweeping legislation banning all abortions that Governor Mark Gordon allowed to go into law does not specify an implementation date.[6]

Women “upon whom a chemical abortion is performed or attempted” will not be prosecuted, as well as any treatment of a “natural miscarriage according to currently accepted medical guidelines”.[3] There will also be an exemption for treatment necessary to protect a woman “from an imminent peril that substantially endangers her life or health”.[3]

0. “Wyoming, the first territory in the United States to grant women the right to vote, just became the first state to ban medication abortion” Yahoo! Voices, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/news/wyoming-first-territory-united-states-061305517.html

1. “Two new abortion bans to become law in Wyoming” WyoFile, 18 Mar. 2023, https://wyofile.com/two-new-abortion-bans-will-go-into-effect-in-wyoming

2. “Governor allows sweeping Wyoming abortion measure to pass, setting up court fight” Jackson Hole News&Guide, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.jhnewsandguide.com/jackson_hole_daily/state_and_regional/wynews/governor-allows-sweeping-wyoming-abortion-measure-to-pass-setting-up-court-fight/article_66d26004-f85f-5b4b-ad8d-fa34dd4cf610.html

3. “Wyoming becomes first US state to ban abortion pills” Sky News, 18 Mar. 2023, https://news.sky.com/story/us-state-of-wyoming-introduces-new-law-banning-abortion-pills-12836777

4. “Wyoming in US prohibits abortion pill use” La Prensa Latina, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.laprensalatina.com/wyoming-in-us-prohibits-abortion-pill-use

5. “Wyoming governor signs bill prohibiting abortion pills” AOL, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.aol.com/wyoming-governor-signs-bill-prohibiting-053624282.html

6. “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

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