Wyoming’s first-in-the-nation abortion pill ban blocked before it was set to take effect

Published: Jun. 23, 2023 at 9:09 AM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Abortion pills will remain legal in Wyoming for now, after a judge ruled Thursday that the state’s first-in-the-nation law to ban them won’t take effect July 1 as planned while a lawsuit proceeds.

A judge in Teton County, Melissa Owens, has ruled that attorneys representing Wyoming have not demonstrated that the implementation of a ban on abortion pills would not harm the plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit.

Wyoming is the first state in the United States to specifically prohibit abortion pills, while other states have indirectly banned the medication by outlawing abortion. Four women, including two obstetricians, and two non-profit organizations, including an abortion clinic in Casper, have filed a lawsuit to challenge the law. They have requested that the court suspend the ban while the case is ongoing.

The plaintiffs are also challenging a new, almost total ban on abortion in the state. Both laws were passed after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, leading to stricter controls and almost total bans on the procedure for around 25 million women and teenagers.

Judge Owens has consolidated the two lawsuits in Wyoming into one case and previously suspended the state’s general abortion ban shortly after its implementation.

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