HEYENNE, Wyoming — Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill into law Friday night banning abortion pills in the state and also allowed a separate measure restricting abortion to become law without his signature.
In a statement, Gordon expressed concern that the latest law, dubbed the Life is a Human Right Act, will result in a lawsuit that «will delay any resolution on the constitutionality of Wyoming’s abortion ban.»
He noted that earlier in the day, plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit filed a challenge to the new law in the event he failed to cast a veto.
“I believe this issue must be decided as soon as possible so that the abortion issue in Wyoming can finally be resolved, and that is best done with a vote of the people,” Gordon, a Republican, said in a statement.
The Wyoming governor’s decision on abortion pills comes after they took center stage this week in Texas, where a federal judge raised questions about a Christian group’s effort to overturn decades-old US approval of one of the main abortion drugs, mifepristone.
In a statement, ACLU of Wyoming director of advocacy Antonio Serrano criticized the governor’s decision to sign the law.
“A person’s health, not politics, should guide important medical decisions, including the decision to have an abortion,” Serrano said.
A combination of two pills mifepristone and other drug it is the most common form of abortion in the US.
Medical abortions became the preferred method of terminating a pregnancy in the US even before the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, the ruling that protected abortion rights for nearly five decades.
Fifteen states already have limited access to abortion pills, including six that require an in-person medical visit. Those laws could withstand court challenges; States have long had authority over how doctors, pharmacists, and other providers practice medicine.
States also set the rules for telemedicine visits used to prescribe drugs. In general, that means health providers in states with restrictions on abortion pills could face penalties, such as fines or license suspension, for attempting to mail pills.
Women have already been traveling across state lines to places where access to abortion pills is easier. That trend is expected to increase.
Since Roe’s reversal last June, abortion restrictions have been run by the states, and the landscape has changed rapidly. Thirteen states are now banning abortion at any time during pregnancy, and one more, Georgia, bans it once heart activity can be detected, or around six weeks gestation.
Courts have stayed enforcement of abortion bans or deep restrictions in Arizona, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming. Idaho courts have compelled the state to allow abortions during medical emergencies.