Update: A lawsuit seeking to halt Wyoming’s pending abortion ban was filed Monday in Teton County District Court. The suit argues that the ban violates the state’s constitution.
Gov. Mark Gordon certified Wyoming’s abortion ban on Friday, clearing the way for the prohibition to go into effect Wednesday.
“I believe that the decision to regulate abortion is properly left to the states,” Gordon said in Tweet. “As a pro-life governor, my focus will continue to be on ensuring we are doing all we can to support mothers, children and families.”
Lawmakers passed House Bill 92 – Abortion prohibition-supreme court decision during the 2022 legislative session, and Gordon signed it into law.
It was triggered by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which eliminated Americans’ constitutional right to abortion. Wyoming’s law needed authorization from both the governor and Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill to go into effect. The latter green light came Thursday.
The ban makes almost all abortions illegal in Wyoming, except in cases involving rape, incest, or serious risk of death or “substantial and irreversisible physical impairments” for the pregnant person. How those exceptions are determined concerned a physician at Wyoming’s last remaining clinic to provide abortions. The physician previously told WyoFile she would stop providing abortions once the law takes effect.
“Our access to abortion shouldn’t depend on where we live, how much money we make, or who we are,” Libby Sarkin, American Civil Liberties of Wyoming campaigns director, said in a statement. “We should be able to make the best medical decisions for ourselves and our families.”
Similar “trigger” laws have faced court challenges in other states, including Louisiana. In Wyoming, some point to a clause in Wyoming’s Constitution as a potential tool to legally challenge the ban.
The clause, passed by voters in 2012, states “Each competent adult shall have the right to make his or her own health care decisions. The parent, guardian or legal representative of any other natural person shall have the right to make health care decisions for that person.”