CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Abortion-rights supporters filed an amended lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block Wyoming’s new abortion pill ban from taking effect.
A group hoping to open what would be the state’s second clinic offering abortions filed the amended lawsuit days after Republican Gov. Mark Gordon signed what is the nation’s first explicit ban on abortion pills. Absent court intervention, that ban would take effect July 1.
Abortion-rights supporters already were seeking to block a separate sweeping abortion ban that took effect Sunday in Wyoming without the governor’s signature. That law seeks to overcome objections that prompted a judge to suspend a previous ban.
The abortion pill ban and the sweeping ban conflict and create confusion about what is and isn’t permissible under the new laws, according to the lawsuit. If they’re allowed to be in effect, “the fundamental rights of Wyoming women and their families will be taken away by the state government and those rights will cease to exist,” the amended lawsuit said.
Both of the new Wyoming abortion bans make exceptions to save a pregnant woman’s life and for cases of rape or incest that are reported to police.
Until Gordon signed the ban on medication abortions, no state had passed a law specifically prohibiting such pills, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights. However, abortion pills already were banned in 13 other states with blanket bans on abortion, and 15 states already had limited access to the pills.
Medication abortions also are a target of a separate lawsuit in Texas, where abortion opponents have asked a federal judge to reverse the Food and Drug Administration’s 2000 approval of mifepristone. A two-pill combination of mifepristone and another drug is the most common form of abortion in the U.S.
Wyoming has only one abortion provider, a women’s health clinic in Jackson that only provides medication abortions but has canceled appointments after the state’s broad ban took effect this week. Teton County District Court Judge Melissa Owens is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday to consider whether to block that new ban while the legal challenge over it moves ahead.
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