Wyoming Judge Temporarily Blocks Enforcement of Abortion Ban
A Wyoming judge temporarily blocked a state abortion ban that took effect over the weekend, the New York Times reports.
On Wednesday, Judge Melissa Owens of Teton County District Court ordered that the newly enacted law be blocked while the court reviews a lawsuit brought against the state by abortion providers. The ban, titled the “Life is a Human Right Act,” would make providing abortions a felony in most circumstances and punishable by up to five years in prison.
The act cites the Wyoming constitution, claiming that “abortion as defined in this act is not health care” and that instead, “abortion is the intentional termination of the life of an unborn baby.”
Judge Owens challenged that statement on Wednesday, per the report, and asked: “An abortion can only be performed by a licensed medical professional, so what authority does the legislature have to declare that abortion is not health care when our laws only allow a licensed medical professional to administer one?”
The suit also challenges a law signed by Republican state Gov. Mark Gordon on Friday, which makes it a felony to prescribe, sell, or use abortion medication. The legislation is scheduled to take effect on July 1. Six plaintiffs, including four health care providers, will seek a court order to suspend both the medication abortion ban and the overall ban.
Last week, the North Dakota Supreme Court upheld an injunction against the state’s proposed ban on abortion. The court found that the law violated the state’s constitution, and the guaranteed “right of enjoying and defending life and pursuing and obtaining safety.”