Jun 22, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Wyoming judge halts state's abortion pills ban

Packages of Mifepristone tablets at a family planning facility in Rockville, Maryland, in April 2023.

Packages of Mifepristone tablets at a family planning facility in Rockville, Maryland, in April 2023. Photo" Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A Wyoming judge halted the state's new ban on abortion pills on Thursday just days before the law was set to take effect on July 1.

Why it matters: Wyoming was the first state to move to ban the pills, which were used for more than half of all U.S. abortions in 2020.

  • Demand for the pills skyrocketed after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022.
  • The pills will remain legal in the state pending the outcome of a lawsuit against the ban brought by a group that includes nonprofit organizations, medical providers and Wyoming abortion clinic Wellspring Health Access.
A tweet by abortion clinic Wellspring Health Access, saying: "Wyoming was the first state to try to ban medication abortion. Today, we received a temporary restraining order keeping medication abortion legal in the state."
Photo: Wellspring Health Access/Twitter

Of note: The group also filed a lawsuit against the state's near-total abortion ban, which was also temporarily blocked by Wyoming's Ninth District Court Judge Melissa Owens in March.

  • The abortion ban would essentially supersede the medications ban by outlawing most abortions regardless of the method used.
  • That means if Wyoming’s near-total abortion ban goes into effect, a prohibition on medication abortion would be largely symbolic.

The big picture: Owens ruled that the state failed to show that allowing the law to go into effect before the lawsuit was resolved wouldn't hurt the plaintiffs, according to AP.

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