Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signs the nation’s first ban on abortion pills

Republican Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon has signed a bill banning the prescribing and dispensing of the abortion pill, making his state the first to ban the nation’s most common abortion method.

Account signed Friday comes as the future of abortion drugs hangs in the balance as a federal judge in Texas weighs whether the Food and Drug Administration’s 2000 approval of mifepristone, which is part of the two-pill abortion regimen, should be revoked.

Republican Senator Tim Salazar, the bill’s author, said after signing that “my promise to protect the unborn has been fulfilled.”

“Wyoming is the first state in the country to ban chemical abortions. Over 90% of abortions in Wyoming are chemical abortions,” he said on Facebook. “The help received from so many contributors made this possible. Thank you.”

The measure, which takes effect July 1, is the latest salvo in the battle over abortion pills between red states and the Biden administration, which in January made permanent pandemic rules that allow the pill to be prescribed via telemedicine and delivered by mail.

Fifteen states have passed laws requiring a doctor to prescribe the pill. According to the Guttmacher Institute, six of those states also require an in-person doctor visit.

Antonio Serrano, director of advocacy for the ACLU of Wyoming, said “human health, not politics, should guide important medical decisions — including the decision to have an abortion.”

“We will continue to challenge efforts that interfere with our right to make our own reproductive health decisions,” the ACLU said.

The law does not cover so-called “morning-after pills” taken before conception or before pregnancy is confirmed, and excludes cases where the drugs are used to treat miscarriages.

U.S. District Judge Matthew Kaczmarik held oral arguments last week in Amarillo, Texas, in a challenge by pro-life medical groups to the FDA’s approval of mifepristone. A decision to withdraw or suspend an approval may be published at any time.

Governor Gordon also allowed a bill banning most abortions to become law without his signature, noting that a similar bill was temporarily blocked last year pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the measure.

“I understand the Legislature’s efforts to improve Wyoming’s life support legal framework and preemptively clarify some of these legal issues through the various legislative findings of HEA 0088,” Mr. Gordon said in a letter to the Secretary of State. “However, I believe that this issue needs to be resolved as soon as possible so that the issue of abortion in Wyoming can be finally resolved, and that is best done by a vote of the people.”

Adam Schwendt, western regional director of SBA Pro-Life America, said the bills make Wyoming “one of the most pro-life states in the country.”

“According to Medicaid data, there has been a 500% increase in emergency room visits related to chemical abortions since mifepristone was approved,” Mr. Schwendt said. “New Wyoming Law Will Limit Abortion Industry’s Ability to Endanger the Health and Safety of Women and Girls.”

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