Wyoming Bans Abortion Pill – CNN

(CNN) As the fight over the abortion pill heats up nationally, Wyoming on Friday banned the drug in what NARAL Pro-Choice America called a “first-of-its-kind” law and also enacted a near-total abortion ban.

Republican Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill that makes it a crime to prescribe, sell or use “any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion.” Violators can face up to six months in jail and a $9,000 fine.

The law enters into force on July 1.

Medical abortions are already included in general abortion bans in a number of states. Some states have restricted telehealth abortion care, limiting access to medical abortion.

A leading abortion rights advocate said Wyoming’s express ban on the pill is unique.

“No stone is being left unturned by anti-choice activists as they seek to do everything possible to ensure abortion is banned across the nation,” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Minnie Thimaraju said in a statement Saturday. “This first-ever ban on medical abortion, as well as a total ban, is just the latest evidence.”

The bigger picture

Meanwhile, a federal judge in Texas may soon rule on a lawsuit seeking to overturn the FDA’s approval of a drug used in medical abortions. The lawsuit seeks to block nationwide access to mifepristone, the first of two drugs used in the trial.

If the lawsuit is successful, another 40 million women of reproductive age will lose access to the drug, according to NARAL. That’s in addition to the 24.5 million women of reproductive age living in states with abortion bans and those “who can get pregnant but don’t identify as female,” according to NARAL.

The FDA approved mifepristone in 2000. In 2020, medication abortions accounted for more than half of abortions in the U.S., according to the Guttmacher Institute, another abortion rights group.

Abortion legal battles have raged across the country since last year, when the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision guaranteeing abortion rights.

“Already 17 states and counting have imposed abortion bans since the ruling,” NARAL said.

Last week, California’s Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, said the state would stop working with Walgreens, the retail pharmacy chain that announced it would not sell abortion pills in 21 Republican-dominated states.

In Wyoming, the Life is a Human Right Act becomes law

Wyoming’s governor allowed the second anti-abortion bill to become law without his signature. The broader law bans abortion in most circumstances, with penalties of up to five years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

The Life is a Human Right Act allows exceptions for incest, sexual violence or when the life of the pregnant woman is in danger, as well as in cases of “lethal fetal abnormality”.

“Abortion, as defined in this act, is not health care,” the act says, citing the Wyoming constitution. “Rather than health care, abortion is the intentional termination of the life of an unborn baby.”

The law takes effect on Sunday.

Gordon “expressed concern that this new law (HB 152) will only lead to another lawsuit that will delay any resolution of the constitutionality of Wyoming’s abortion ban,” according to a statement from his office.

“A person’s health, not politics, should guide important medical decisions — including the decision to have an abortion,” Antonio Serrano, director of advocacy for the ACLU of Wyoming, said in a statement.

CNN’s Dave Alsup, Paradise Afshar, Annette Choi and Will Mullery contributed to this report.

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