Wyoming is the first US state to ban abortion pills. The state’s Republican Governor Mark Gordon signed a law to that effect last night. The ban should take effect in July.
The ban prohibits the “prescription, supply, distribution, sale, or use of abortion pills for the purpose of obtaining or performing an abortion.” Violation of the ban is punishable by up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $9,000.
So-called morning-after pills prescribed as contraceptives are exempt from the ban. Interventions that are necessary “to protect a woman against an imminent danger that significantly endangers her life or health” are also excluded.
In Wyoming, abortion is still legal until the fetus is viable. In many cases, drugs are used to terminate the pregnancy. The ban would make that no longer possible and the threshold for an abortion would be raised, critics think.
The discussion about abortion has been going on in the US for decades. Abortion law returned to the state’s hands last summer, following a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which overturned previous rulings that had secured the right to abortion.
The governor’s decision comes a week when access to abortion pills was at the center of a lawsuit in Texas. A Christian group there tried to ban the abortion drug mifepristone, which can induce an abortion in combination with other drugs. The federal judge is currently considering that.
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