Wyoming governor signs bill prohibiting abortion pills

Wyoming governor Mark Gordon has signed a bill prohibiting abortion pills in the Republican-led state on Friday, citing the Life is a Human Right Act.

It is the first US state to ban the use of abortion pills.

The abortion pill law in Wyoming will take effect from 1 July and make it illegal to “prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell or use any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion”.

The law states that doctors or anyone else found guilty of prescribing the medicines and violating the latest law will be charged with a misdemeanour, punishable by up to six months in prison and will be slapped with a $9,000 (£7,387) fine.

Pregnant patients will be exempt from charges and penalties, according to the law.

“I have acted without bias and after extensive prayer, to allow these bills to become law,” the governor said in a letter to Wyoming’s secretary of state.

The governor also allowed a separate measure restricting access to abortion to become a law without his signature amid rising control over abortion by Republican states and anti-abortion groups.

The law, which kicks in on Sunday, would ban abortion under most circumstances, rendering the medical termination of an unwanted pregnancy a felony.

The latter law, governor Gordon said, dubbed the Life is a Human Right Act would result in a lawsuit that will “delay any resolution to the constitutionality of the abortion ban in Wyoming”.

Abortion pills account for more than of the recent medical termination of pregnancy in the US, preliminary data in a report by the Guttmacher Institute showed in February last year amid crackdown on abortion by the Republican camp and states.

The pills accounted for more than 54 per cent of all medical abortions carried out in the US, which requires a two-pill method up to 10 weeks of gestation, the report found, confirming the process to be the most accessible and reliable method to end pregnancies among the US population.

Governor Gordon’s move to render abortion pills inaccessible comes in the wake of a federal judge’s questioning of a Christian group’s effort to overturn the decades-old US approval of a leading abortion drug mifepristone.

Wyoming ACLU advocacy director Antonio Serrano slammed governor Gordon’s decision to sign the law.

"A person’s health, not politics, should guide important medical decisions — including the decision to have an abortion," Mr Serrano said in a statement.

Restrictions on abortion have scaled up significantly after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs Wade in June last year, stripping off the law protecting the right to abortion for nearly five decades.

At least 12 states are now enforcing bans on abortion at any point in pregnancy, and one more, Georgia, bans it once cardiac activity can be detected, or at about six weeks’ gestation.

Courts have put on hold enforcement of abortion bans or deep restrictions in Arizona, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, South Carolina, Utah and Wyoming. Idaho courts have forced the state to allow abortions during medical emergencies.