Wyoming Governor, Mark Gordon, has signed a bill which makes it illegal to use or prescribe medication abortion pills in the state.
This makes Wyoming the first state in the United States to ban the use of such pills, with the measure set to take effect in July.
The bill, which was signed on Friday night, prohibits the use of medication abortion pills, which include a combination of mifepristone and another drug, in the state. The measure also allows a separate abortion restriction bill to become law without the Governor’s signature.
The bill includes an exemption for “morning-after” pills, which are prescription contraceptive medication used after sex but before a pregnancy can be confirmed. Additionally, any treatment necessary to protect a woman’s life or health, or for natural miscarriage, is also exempt from the ban.
Medication abortions have become the preferred method for ending pregnancy in the United States, even before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which protected the right to abortion for nearly five decades. However, thirteen states already have blanket bans on all forms of abortion, and fifteen states have limited access to abortion pills.
The Wyoming bill is set to make it a criminal misdemeanor to violate the ban, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $9,000. Despite being signed into law, there may still be legal action taken that could potentially delay its implementation.
Critics of the new law have argued that it will limit women’s access to healthcare and abortion services. Scientists and doctors have noted that medication abortions are safe and effective, and offer an alternative to invasive surgical procedures.