Wyoming banned the abortion pill and some states want to go further.

Wyoming banned the abortion pill and some states want to go further.

Wyoming on Friday became the first US state to ban mifepristone, commonly known as the abortion pill, outside of the general ban on abortion. Wyoming’s ban is just one of several new efforts around the country to ban access to abortion — or severely penalize those who seek abortion care.

With surgical abortion difficult if not impossible to access in Wyoming, medication abortion is essentially the only option for abortion care in the state.

Since Roe v. Wade was repealed last summer, states like Wyoming, South Carolina, and Texas have made repeated attempts against abortion rights, with varying degrees of success. Wyoming abortion was prohibited by the trigger ban passed before the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs against Jackson case, although it is currently being challenged in court. Anti-abortion legislation has proven unpopular and difficult to enforce in some states, opening the door for extreme solutions like Wyoming’s.

All forms of abortion are illegal twelve states, including medication abortion. But Wyoming is the first state to criminalize the use of the abortion pill outside of a full ban that goes into effect. Medication, or self-administered, abortion may be the preferred option for terminating a pregnancy up to 10 weeks because it can be carried out at home — especially important in states and situations where access to surgical abortion is difficult — it is safe and cheaper than surgical abortion.

That option is now gone in Wyoming and may be removed or suppressed throughout the country depending on the outcome of a federal court case in Texas. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a Trump-appointed judge with ties to conservative groups, is currently hearing arguments in Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine vs. FDA that mifepristone is unsafe, despite the fact that it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for more than 20 years. Kacsmaryk is expected to order the FDA withdraw its approval of the drugleading to a lengthy appeals process.

Even if Kacsmaryk sides with the FDA, other states may try to follow Wyoming’s lead even if they can’t ban abortion outright. Or they could try something like the bill proposed in the South Carolina House of Representatives in January, which would qualify a fertilized egg as a human, and thus make anyone who aborts eligible for the death penalty under South Carolina law.

As state-level abortion bans are challenged in the courts, lawmakers are trying to find new, more creative, and drastic ways to limit access to abortion — and it’s not clear they’ll stop at banning mifepristone or charging women who have had abortions with murder. .

Abortion care will be an uphill battle for Wyoming women

Wyoming has tried to enact an anti-abortion law ever since Dobbs has decided; Signed by Gov. Mark Gordon debated the abortion ban in March. That law, still held by the courts, will ban all abortions except in cases of rape or incest, or if the pregnancy poses a serious risk to the mother’s health. In issuing a preliminary injunction, the judge in the case found the law too vague, and likely violated the state’s constitutional right to health care.

Wyoming’s ban on mifepristone depends on Life is a Human Right actthat takes effect Sunday and circumvents the constitution by claiming that abortion is not actual medical care — otherwise it would be subject to the same constitutional criticism as last year’s trigger ban.

“The effect of that law is not only to violate our constitutional rights, it is actually causing harm,” said Dr. Giovannina Anthony, a gynecologist and obstetrician at the Women’s Health & Family Care Clinic in Jackson, Pa New York Times. “Criminalizing evidence-based medicine really underlies this, and ultimately, frankly, will lead to maternal deaths and terrible outcomes for both mothers and babies.”

Anthony’s clinic is the only facility in the state that still provides abortion care, and it only provides access to the abortion drug — mifepristone. He is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the trigger ban and told the Times that he and his co-plaintiffs filed for an injunction against the Life is a Human Right act. They will also challenge the ban on abortion pills, he said.

Court challenges are abortion care advocates’ only recourse right now, Wyoming Rep. Mike Yin to Vox in an interview. “In Wyoming, there are five Democrats in the House out of 62, and two in the Senate out of 31, so our [legislative] The options are pretty limited, unfortunately,” said Yin, a Democrat who represents Teton County.

Wyoming is just one place where abortion rights are hard to come by

Of course, Wyoming isn’t the only state pushing for more stringent abortion restrictions. South Carolina also made national news this week as a bill that would qualify a fertilized egg as a person is being considered by the state House of Representatives. Under the proposed South Carolina law, abortion would be tantamount to murder, and the person who performs the abortion could be sentenced to prison time – or death.

“Lawmakers in South Carolina have tried every legislative session to introduce a fetal personhood bill” for the past 25 years, Vicki Ringer, South Carolina director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood South Atlantic, told Vox in a interview The new bill, called Prenatal Equal Protection Act“is the craziest” Ringer said she’s seen during her work on reproductive rights.

The main sponsor of the bill, Rep. Rob Harris, a Republican representing Spartanburg County, is a member of the Freedom Caucus of South Carolina. Like its Congressional analogue, the group advocates for extreme far-right legislative positions based on controversial issues in the culture war. Harris himself last week said on the House floor that he believes the 2020 election is illegitimate.

Harris’ bill, which has 15 sponsors, makes exceptions for the life or health of the mother, but not for rape or incest. It is also clear that no medical practitioner who performs an abortion to save the life of a pregnant woman can be charged with murder under the law. Harris herself is a registered nurse with 10 children, according to a recent profile of her on The state. Harris did not respond to multiple requests for comment about his legislation.

If Harris’ bill were to pass, it would override the state’s current abortion laws, Ringer told Vox. Abortion remains legal in South Carolina, despite several legislative attempts to limit abortion rights, including most recently, the Human Life Protection Act. That measure has already passed the House and would ban abortion with exceptions for death or serious bodily injury of the pregnant woman. It does not provide exceptions for rape or incest but prohibits criminal charges against people who obtain abortions. According to Ringer, it also “leaves open the possibility that a miscarriage could be investigated” as murder, punishing someone for a medical emergency beyond their control.

“What we found in South Carolina was 75 to 80 percent of people support abortion rights,” Ringer said. “Rob Harris represents an extreme group.” Still, Ringer said, he sees a situation where the House could “make a tweak or two” and the bill would pass. Whether the South Carolina Gov. will sign Henry McMaster, a Republican, such legislation, Ringer told Vox, “I think McMaster will sign anything on abortion as long as the General Assembly passes it. He is trying to prove his conservative bona fides.”

In Texas, abortion was illegal and the state used a vigilante enforcement mechanism — ordinary citizens could sue those they suspected of aiding or abetting abortion. That’s playing out now; A man is suing three of his ex-wife’s friends for helping her get abortion pills last year.

The lawsuit alleges that the three women “all knew that they were assisting or consenting to a self-managed abortion, which is a misdemeanor and a criminal act of murder under Texas law.” Two of the defendants offered to let the pregnant woman undergo her medical abortion in their homes and provided her with links to websites where she could order abortion pills. The third defendant allegedly helped deliver the pills to Houston, Reuters reports.

The plaintiff, Marcus Silva, is suing each defendant for $1 million. “Anyone involved in the distribution or manufacture of abortion pills will be sued for negligence,” Briscoe CainSilva’s lawyer and a Texas state representative, said in a statement.

Multiple, overlapping abortion access bans in South Carolina, Texas, Wyoming, and possibly the nation leave the door open for more, more drastic measures against reproductive health, such as restriction o prohibition of certain types of Excess birth control. “It’s a slippery slope,” Ringer said. “What next?”