Wyoming outlaws abortion pills, becoming first state to enact ban
Wyoming Republican Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill Friday outlawing the use or prescription of abortion pills, making it the first state to prohibit the drugs.
The legislation was passed by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature earlier this month.
Included in the bill is a provision making it illegal to “prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell or use any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion.”
Morning-after pills, a contraceptive medication used shortly after sex but before a woman can confirm her pregnancy, will be exempt from the ban.
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There are also exemptions when treatment is necessary to protect a woman “from an imminent peril that substantially endangers her life or health” or for a “natural miscarriage according to currently accepted medical guidelines.”
People who violate the new law will be subject to a criminal misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $9,000.
A woman “upon whom a chemical abortion is performed or attempted shall not be criminally prosecuted,” the measure notes.
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Gordon said he was also allowing a separate bill banning abortion procedures to be enacted without his signature. The measure, passed by state lawmakers, bans the procedure except when necessary to protect the health and life of the mother, in cases of rape or incest or to end a pregnancy in which doctors determine there to be a lethal abnormality of the fetus.
There have been a number of legal challenges across the U.S. regarding abortion laws since the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court in June. The High Court’s decision allowed states to make their own laws on abortion access.
Gordon acknowledged that supporters of abortion access who challenged Wyoming’s “trigger” abortion ban after it went into effect following the reversal of Roe v. Wade have filed a lawsuit to preemptively block the new law on abortion pills.
Reuters contributed to this report.