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.”

Maggie Mullen

Maggie Mullen reports on state government and politics. Before joining WyoFile in 2022, she spent five years at Wyoming Public Radio.

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  1. Good clause. I suspect it is there for different reasons, but it says the woman has her own bodily integrity. That falls under the Tenth Amendment of the US Constitution that says citizens have their own right, free from Federal and STATE control.

  2. These are the self-same hypocrites who claim they want to keep the gummint out of peoples lives. Some conservatives!

  3. Enjoyed your article about the so-called need for Colorado and Wyoming to divert grain River water to the east. I do believe this would be a tragedy when abundant water rests for basic water needs in the Missouri River. This article about pro-life is a clear indication of why we should move thousands of black people to Wyoming. First of all it would enable them to have equitable education if they were dispersed throughout the state. And it would give the opportunity for blacks to come to these states when they were essentially banned during The Jim Crow era. We certainly could prove Wyoming’s willingness to truly be pro-life from the point of birth!

    1. Come on. They can have all the uninhabited land they want. First wolf, grizzly, rattler, cougar encounter will have them back in the liberal arms post haste.

  4. If one reads the AG’s report to the Governor regarding certification of the anti-abortion trigger law, one finds the following:

    “It should be noted that my analysis includes only that directed by House
    Enrolled Act 57: whether Wyo. Stat. Ann. $ 35-6-102(b) is authorized to go into
    effect under the Dobbs decision. Analysis of additional factors is outside the scope of this review.”

    In other words, the AG provides no publicly available opinion as to whether the Wyoming Constitution–one of those pesky additional factors–nullifies the trigger law. The AG merely says “As is true for all statutes, if Wyo. Stat, Ann. $ 35-6-102(b) takes effect and is challenged in the courts, the Office of the Wyoming Attorney General stands ready to defend it.”

    Expect a lot of rhetorical juggling in the State’s defense of the this indefensible law.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C5VYoXTTfQdvtrK6XsAqpkKVI3SNx2xB/view

    1. Why would the AG (executive branch) automatically jump to the defense of the legislative branch instead of weighing the Wyoming Constitution as well? Aren’t they supposed to be separate and therefore consider the rights of the people of Wyoming too, not just the whim of the legislature? Many AG’s have written opinions on constitutional issues; even the LSO advises on the constitutional issues with bills. Would doing that in this case set the far right against Gordon’s re-election efforts? Hmmmmm.