Judge Blocks Wyoming Abortion Ban That Protected Babies Starting at Conception

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 23, 2023   |   9:46AM   |   Cheyenne, Wyoming

A Wyoming judge has blocked the new abortion ban that the state legislature just approved immediately after radical abortion activists filed a lawsuit against it.

A Wyoming bill to ban abortions that recognizes unborn babies’ right to life starting from conception became law last week. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate approved the Human Right Act (House Bill 152) earleir this month and Governor Mark Gordon allowed the measure to become law.

Sponsored by state Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, the bill would protect unborn babies by prohibiting all elective abortions in Wyoming and creating penalties for abortionists who violate the law.

“[A]ll members of the human race are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, the foremost of which is the right to life,” the bill states.

But abortion supporters went to a judge in one of the only Democrat areas of the state to obtain a ruling blocking the law. Their judge shopping paid off as Teton County District Court Judge Melissa Owens issued an injunction preventing enforcement of the law that took effect Sunday. That means the state’s lone abortion center in Jackson can continue killing babies.

Abortion defenders claimed the law harms pregnant women and their doctors and violates the state constitution even though nothing in the state constitution confers a right to abortion and abortions kill and injure pregnant women. An amendment in the Wyoming Constitution says adults have a right to make their own health care decisions, but killing a baby is not health care.

“The state can not legislate away a constitutional right. It’s not clear whether abortion is health care. The court has to then decide that,” Owens said in an oral decision.

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She did not issue any ruling on the new law that bans sales of the dangerous abortion pill.

Special Assistant Attorney General Jay Jerde, however, told the judge the Legislature is permitted to “interpret the constitution and that interpretation is entitled to significant deference from the court.”

Gordon said in a statement he was disappointed by the ruling and looked forward dato defending the law in court.

Wyoming already has a law that bans abortions, but a judge blocked it last year. Rodriguez-Williams’s bill would go further than the current ban by protecting all unborn babies, including those conceived in rape and incest. Her bill also clearly states that the ban does not include abortions when the mother’s life is at risk, or miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy care.

SBA Pro-Life America’s Western Regional Director Adam Schwend told LifeNews his group is elated at both measures becoming law.

“We thank Gov. Gordon for signing SF 109 to prohibit dangerous abortion drugs that can cause hemorrhaging, the need for surgery and even death. According to Medicaid data, the rate of chemical abortion-related ER visits have increased 500% since mifepristone was approved. Wyoming’s new law will limit the abortion industry’s ability to jeopardize the health and safety of women and girls,” he said. “The new chemical abortion law, along with the Human Life Protection Act and extending postpartum Medicaid coverage, make Wyoming one of the most pro-life states in the country.”

The measure addresses the issues that have tied up Wyoming’s trigger law in litigation and would protect life immediately.

“Instead of being health care, abortion is the intentional termination of the life of an unborn baby. It is within the authority of the state of Wyoming to determine reasonable and necessary restrictions upon abortion, including its prohibition,” the bill states, pointing to language in the state constitution.

Wyoming leaders currently are fighting in court to enforce the trigger law, which went into effect only briefly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

In August, a judge blocked enforcement of the law, agreeing with pro-abortion groups that the abortion ban may cause irreparable harm to pregnant mothers and abortionists.

Wyoming is one of several states that are battling in court to legally protect unborn babies from abortion. Currently, 14 other states are enforcing pro-life laws that ban or strictly limit abortions, and researchers estimate tens of thousands of unborn babies’ lives are being saved.

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, states may protect unborn babies from abortion for the first time in nearly 50 years.

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.