Gov. Gordon Signs Law Making Wyoming First State to Ban Abortion Pills
After praying about it, Governor Gordon has signed into law the country's first explicit ban on abortion pills.
On Friday, Governor Gordon signed a prohibition on chemical abortion, while also allowing House Bill 152 - the 'Life is a Human Right Act' to go into law.
This Bill is a separate measure that would restrict abortion in Wyoming, and it will become law without the Governor's signature.
However, according to a press release from the Governor's office, he did express concern that the new law will simply result in a new lawsuit which will delay any resolution to the constitutionality of the abortion ban in Wyoming.
"The Governor says that since the Legislature continues to make minor tweaks in the abortion law each year, it only leads to additional delays in obtaining a final decision from the courts about Wyoming’s Constitution," the release stated. "Governor Gordon stressed that if the Legislature wants finality it should put a constitutional amendment before the people and let them decide if they want to add an abortion ban to the state's constitution."
Governor Gordon has, previously, signed a wide range of pro-life measures, including Senate File 109- Prohibiting Chemical Abortion, Senate File 79 - Plan of safe care-newborns, and House Enrolled Act No. 57 Abortion prohibition-supreme court decision. Governor Gordon also signed House Bill 4- Medicaid twelve-month postpartum coverage. This Bill extends postpartum Medicaid from three months to 12 months which, according to Governor Gordon, will help between 1,000 and 2,000 low-income Wyoming mothers.
“I understand the Legislature’s effort to improve Wyoming’s pro-life legal framework and preemptively clarify some of these legal questions with HEA 0088’s various legislative findings,” the Governor wrote. “However, I believe this question needs to be decided as soon as possible so that the issue of abortion in Wyoming can be finally resolved, and that is best done with a vote of the people.”
Governor Gordon stated that the Life is a Human Right Act will become law without his signature because "it seems to be the will of the Legislature." But, he said, he believes that if Legislature wants resolution on the bill, it may have to come through a Constitutional amendment.
“If the Legislature wants to expressly address how the Wyoming Constitution treats abortion and defines healthcare, then those issues should be vetted through the amendment process laid out in Article 20 of the Wyoming Constitution and voted on directly by the people,” the Governor wrote.
While Wyoming is the first state to explicitly codify a ban on chemical abortion, 13 other states have banned abortion pills, thanks to their blanket abortion bans. 15 other states have limited access to abortion pills.
Julie Burkhart, the President of Well Spring Health Access has released a statement challenging Governor Gordon's decision.
"It is disappointing to see that, instead of working to improve the health and lives of pregnant people in the state, the Wyoming legislature has decided to take aim at abortion care," Burkhart wrote in a statement. "We are dismayed and outraged that these laws would eradicate access to basic health care, including safe, effective medication abortion, and labeling abortion as 'not health care.'"
Burkhart was adamant in stating that abortion is health care, no matter what Wyoming laws state. She said that Wellspring Health Access knows the importance of abortion medical care is to Wyoming residents and to other pregnant people across the region.
"Whether medication or surgical abortion, access to both is critical for the health and the lives of patients we serve," she wrote. "If these laws are allowed to go into effect, Wellspring Health Access, the only surgical abortion provider in the state, could become the last stop for abortion care in Wyoming."
Burkhart stated the they are conferring with their legal team about potential next steps to take regarding the anti-abortion legislation.
"Rest assured - we remain committed to fighting for abortion rights in Wyoming," she closed. "We know the stakes of this fight, and we aren't back down."
Antonio Serrano, the Advocacy Director for Wyoming ACLU, stated that "A person's health, not politics, should guide important medical decisions - including the decision to have an abortion."
Wyoming's ban on abortion will would take effect on July 1, unless challenged by any pending legal action.
"I have acted without bias, and after extensive prayer, to allow these bills to become law," Governor Gordon wrote in his letter.
The full letter can be read here.