Court Hearing For Wyoming's Abortion Ban Scheduled For Wednesday | Big Horn Basin Media

Court Hearing For Wyoming’s Abortion Ban Scheduled For Wednesday

Written by on March 21, 2023

On Wednesday, the court system of Wyoming will decide for a second time whether or not to block the state’s newest ban on abortion.  The concerns, this time around, are over individual rights and the ban’s constitutionality.

A meeting has been scheduled for 1pm by Teton County County District Court Judge Melissa Owens.  Judge Owens will oversee an emergency hearing to deliberate a pro-choice group’s request for a temporary restraining order.  The restraining order would block the recently passed Life Is A Human Right Act that bans almost all abortions.

The Act became law last Saturday after Governor Mark Gordon decided not to sign the bill.  Gordon’s reason for not signing the bill into law was that the legislation would get bound up in the court system.  He said he would rather see the Legislature push a ballot initiative to ban abortion in Constitution instead of passing another law.

The new state abortion ban is a rewriting of the 2022 “trigger ban”, that was written and introduced by State Representative Rachel Rodriguez-Williams (R-Cody), would have banned nearly all abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturned Roe vs. Wade. The high court did just that and Judge Owens blocked the ban as soon as it became effective.

After the “trigger ban” was passed, Judge Owens said the legislation didn’t account for doctors’ “reasonable medical judgment” when the mother’s life is threatened.

She later indicated that she was leaning toward interpreting abortion as “health care” under the Wyoming Constitution. The Wyoming Constitution promises state residents should have a reasonable expectation for health care autonomy.

House Bill 152 would now consider abortions as a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and $20,000 in fines.  It does contain exceptions for multiple health conditions, as well as rape and incest cases. The law requires women to show a law enforcement report pertaining to the rape or incest against them to obtain an abortion on those grounds.

The same plaintiffs who sued the state over the trigger ban filed a lawsuit Friday over the Life Is A Human Right Act. The group is asking Judge Owens to block the law and declare it unconstitutional.

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