On March 17, 2023, Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed the Senate Enrolled Act No. 93 (SEA0093) into law, making Wyoming the first state to ban abortion pills.
The law will take effect on July 1, 2023, prohibiting prescribing, dispensing, distributing, selling, or using any drug to procure or perform an abortion on any person. However, it will not ban contraceptives or emergency contraception. There are also exceptions permitting the use of chemical abortion in the event of the following:
1. treating “a natural miscarriage,”
2. preserving the life of the woman from an “imminent peril,” defined as a physical condition that “substantially endangers her life or health,”
3. the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.
In addition, the law makes it clear that “a woman upon whom a chemical abortion is performed or attempted” will not be criminally prosecuted. However, any physician or other person who violates the law could face imprisonment for up to 6 months, a fine of up to $9,000, or both.
The signing of this law comes at a pivotal time when the nation could see mifepristone, the first pill in the abortion pill regimen, lose its FDA approval nationwide within weeks pending Texas Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s decision in the case of Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine v. U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Governor Mark Gordon also allowed the Life is a Human Right Act to become law by default. However, although the Life is a Human Right Act went into effect immediately on March 17, 2023, it has since been halted due to Teton County District Court Judge Melissa Owens granting a temporary restraining order against the Life is a Human Right on March 22, 2023.
Governor Gordon chose not to sign the law, instead allowing it to become law without his signature or veto because he knew a lawsuit would be filed against the Life is a Human Right Act, and he has now been proven correct. The Life is a Human Right Act was blocked for the same reason Governor Gordon feared it would be – because it tries to define abortion as not healthcare, a question that has already been caught up in the courts since last year when a judge blocked the state’s trigger law.
If allowed to go into effect, the Life is a Human Right Act will ban abortions immediately, with the exceptions of saving the life or health of the mother, treating a miscarriage, or treating an ectopic or molar pregnancy. Additionally, abortions would still be allowed in cases of rape or incest if the crime has been reported to the police before the abortion or the baby has a lethal fetal anomaly. The law also would still allow women to undergo treatment for cancer or other diseases even if the treatment would cause harm or the demise of the preborn child.