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Lawsuit targets Wyoming abortion pill law

Pro-choice supporters have filed a lawsuit in Wyoming that seeks to block the state's law on abortion pills, which Republican Gov. Mark Gordon signed on March 17, 2023.

A stringent law on abortion pills in Wyoming is being challenged by pro-choice supporters who filed an amended lawsuit Tuesday seeking to block the restrictions from taking effect.

Wellspring Health Access, a nonprofit group that wants to open what would be the second abortion clinic in Wyoming, filed the lawsuit days after Republican Gov. Mark Gordon signed the law on medication abortions. The law is set to take effect on July 1, unless a court intervenes.

“Wyomingites deserve access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care, including both surgical and medication abortion, and that’s why we are fighting to keep medication abortion legal in Wyoming,” Julie Burkart, president of Wellspring Health Access, said in a statement.


This new lawsuit joins another attempt to block a separate sweeping abortion law that took effect Sunday in Wyoming without Gordon’s signature. A judge in Teton County District Court will hear arguments on that law Wednesday. 

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The two laws create confusion about what is and isn’t permissible, according to the lawsuit. If they’re allowed to be in effect, “the fundamental rights of Wyoming women and their families will be taken away by the state government and those rights will cease to exist,” the amended lawsuit said.

Each law contains exceptions for medical emergencies endangering the life of the mother and for cases of rape or incest where there is a police report. 

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Wyoming law on abortion pills is the nation’s most stringent. Thirteen states effectively banned medication abortions under laws enacted after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and 15 states had already restricted access to the pills. 

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Six states – Arizona Indiana, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota and South Carolina – require a doctor to administer medication abortions in person. 

Medication abortions are the most common abortion procedure in the U.S. They consist of a two-drug regimen – mifepristone (mifeprex) and misoprostol – to effectively cause a miscarriage, ending pregnancy. Both medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

A separate lawsuit in Texas seeks to overturn the FDA’s 2000 approval of mifepristone. 

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Wyoming has only one abortion provider, a women’s health clinic in Jackson that only provides medication abortions but has canceled appointments after the state’s law took effect this week. Teton County District Court Judge Melissa Owens is scheduled to hold a hearing Wednesday to consider whether to block that new law while the legal challenge over it moves ahead.

A spokesman for Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill told The Associated Press she “will vigorously defend the legality of this law, just as she does with all statutes when their constitutionality is challenged.” 

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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