Wyoming Fights in Court to Defend Abortion Ban That Would Save Babies From Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 1, 2022   |   4:08PM   |   Cheyenne, Wyoming

A Wyoming law that protects unborn babies by banning abortions will go to the state Supreme Court for consideration after a judge ruled Wednesday.

The Jackson Hole Daily reports state Judge Melissa Owens sent the case to the high court after denying a request from pro-life advocates to intervene in defense of the law.

“The people of Wyoming, through their elected representatives, have made clear that they want to protect life,” said Dave Cortman, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the pro-life advocates. “Wyoming deserves the long-awaited opportunity to affirm that life is a human right. We are hopeful that the state will prevail so it can protect the most vulnerable among us and ensure that women and families facing unplanned pregnancies have real support.”

The 2022 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 challenged the pro-life legislation as unconstitutional.

The Wyoming Attorney General’s Office is defending the law, but its two sponsors, Reps. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, and Chip Neiman, R-Hulett, as well as Right to Life Wyoming recently asked the judge to be parties in the case so they can defend legal protections for babies in the womb.

Owens denied their request Wednesday, arguing that allowing them to participate would “unduly delay the adjudication of the rights of the parties,” according to the report.

“There are a number of cases that have denied an individual legislator’s motion to intervene, finding that their support for a piece of legislation does not rise to the level of a significant protectable interest,” she wrote in her ruling.

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Owens said the three petitioners “unquestionably” do have a personal interest in the case but no more than any other Wyoming citizen.

The judge sent the case to the Wyoming Supreme Court, which will decide whether to hear it.

Attorneys for the pro-abortion side argue that the state abortion ban is unconstitutional because it restricts a woman’s right to make choices about her medical care. They also claim the law violates women’s property rights because a woman’s uterus is her property.

In August, Owens agreed to temporarily block enforcement of the law while the lawsuit proceeds, ruling that the ban may cause irreparable harm to pregnant mothers and abortionists.

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.

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 elective reasons.