Two Wyoming lawmakers and a pro-life organization asked a judge Monday to allow them to join a case defending the state abortion ban against a lawsuit from pro-abortion groups.
The Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports Teton County District Judge Melissa Owens listened to their request to intervene after she temporarily blocked the pro-life law earlier this year.
Owens said the decision about whether to allow Right to Life Wyoming and state Reps. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, and Chip Neiman, R-Hulett, to join the case is “extremely difficult” because both sides made good arguments, according to the report.
The Wyoming law at the center of the lawsuit protects unborn babies by prohibiting abortions except in cases of rape, incest and threats to the mother’s life. Two abortionists and pro-abortion groups recently filed a lawsuit claiming the law is unconstitutional.
On Monday, attorney Denise Harle, who represents the pro-life lawmakers and Right to Life Wyoming, asked that her clients be allowed to defend the law as well as state Attorney General Bridget Hill.
Harle said they want to present “evidence of harms to unborn children and pregnant mothers from abortion, as well as what constitutes reasonable medical judgment and standard of care when pregnancy complications arise.”
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Here’s more from the Jackson Hole Daily:
Harle also pointed to a case in which an environmental advocate was allowed to intervene to defend an Endangered Species Act listing for the spotted owl as an example of courts allowing advocates to intervene.
“Surely if there’s a protected interest in an owl’s life, there’s an interest in preserving human life,” Harle said.
Harle also pointed to rulings by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and state Supreme Court that have allowed similar groups to intervene “in cases of public importance, as this one clearly is,” according to the Eagle.
Attorneys for the pro-abortion side objected to her arguments, asserting that those rulings do not apply in this specific case.
In the lawsuit, they argue that the state abortion ban is unconstitutional because it restricts a woman’s right to make choices about her medical care, the report continues. They also claim the law violates women’s property rights because a woman’s uterus is her property.
In August, the judge agreed to temporarily block enforcement of the law while the lawsuit proceeds, agreeing that the ban may cause irreparable harm to pregnant mothers and abortionists and may be unconstitutional.
The law was supposed to go into effect this summer after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, but it remains blocked.
Wyoming is one of nine states that are battling in court to legally protect unborn babies from abortion. Currently, 13 other states are enforcing pro-life laws that ban or strictly limit abortions, saving more than 100,000 unborn babies’ lives.
In June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe in a historic victory for life and returned the power to legislate abortion to the people. Because of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, states may protect unborn babies from abortion for the first time in nearly 50 years. New research estimates state pro-life laws have saved as many as 10,000 unborn babies’ lives since June.
All pro-life laws allow abortions when the mother’s life is at risk and, in some states, cases of rape and incest. These make up a very small percent of all abortions in the U.S. Research from the Charlotte Lozier Institute found about 96 percent of abortions are for purely elective reasons.