The Wyoming governor enacts legislation prohibiting the use of abortion pills
The state's Republican-controlled legislature enacted a measure earlier this month that banned the use or prescription of abortion drugs, and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed it into law on Friday.
Republican Governor Gordon signed the bill as a Texas federal court weighs placing a countrywide ban on the abortion drug mifepristone in response to a lawsuit brought by pro-life organisations.
The two-page Wyoming law's key clause prohibits "prescription, dispensing, distribution, sale, or use of any medicine for the purpose of obtaining or conducting an abortion." Prescription contraceptives known as "morning-after" pills, which are taken after intercourse but before a pregnancy can be positively identified, are excluded from the prohibition.
However, any therapy required to save a woman "from an immediate threat that severely endangers her life or health" or to treat a "natural miscarriage according to generally recognised medical principles" is excluded from the law.
The law is to be handled as a criminal offence, punishable by up to nine thousand dollars in fines and six months in prison. A woman "upon whom a chemical abortion is performed or attempted shall not be legally punished," according to the law.
The governor said that he was also permitting the passage of a different state legislation enacted by legislators that forbade traditional abortions save in cases of rape or incest. This law was passed without his signature.
If a foetal anomaly is found to be deadly, a pregnancy may also be terminated under certain circumstances.
After a Supreme Court decision last year that nullified the important Roe v. Wade case from 1973 that legalised the practise, legal battles over abortion rights have intensified in the United States.
Gordon noted that opponents of abortion rights who have previously sued to prevent the recently enacted Wyoming restriction from taking effect have already challenged Wyoming's "trigger" abortion ban, which took effect after the Roe v. Wade ruling.
The governor voiced worry that the new abortion ban's passage may complicate the law and provide a fresh barrier to the courts' ability to decide the case quickly.