Judge Melissa Owens Reaffirms Decision to Block Wyoming’s Abortion Ban
Written by Caleb Nelson on August 10, 2022
Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams of District 50 sponsored Wyoming’s trigger law to prohibit abortions, which was set to take effect with the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June.
Gov. Mark Gordon signed the abortion “trigger” bill in March and gave the green light for the law to move forward in July of this year.
On July 27th, 2022, Judge Owens ruled to block the state’s abortion ban the day it was supposed to go into effect when she sided with a firebombed women’s health clinic and others who argued that the trigger law violates the state constitution.
Today, Owens once again blocked the state’s ban on abortion from taking effect while doctors, a clinic operator, and other parties sue to invalidate the trigger law.
Teton County District Court Judge Melissa Owens argued that the lawsuit raised important questions about the abortion ban triggered by the historic overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Currently, the law has only narrow exceptions for rape, incest, and medical emergencies under Wyoming’s constitution.
Owen said irreparable harm could occur if the trigger law ban were to be enforced before certain medical questions are answered. Judge Owens has suggested the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are likely to win on the merits of the case. The final decision will almost certainly come from the state’s Supreme Court.
“The legislature cannot pass a discriminatory law on the basis of sex that restricts the constitutionally protected right to make one’s own health care decisions,” Owens wrote.