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Wyoming outlaws use of abortion pills

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon on Friday signed into law a bill outlawing the use or prescription of medication abortion pills that was passed by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature earlier this month.

Gordon, a Republican, signed the law as a federal judge in Texas is considering ordering a nationwide ban on the abortion pill Mifepristone, in response to a lawsuit by anti-abortion groups. The crux of the Wyoming bill is a provision making it illegal to “prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell or use any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion.”

Violation of the ban is to be treated as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to USD 9,000.

The measure stipulates that a woman “upon whom a chemical abortion is performed or attempted shall not be criminally prosecuted.”

At the same time, the so-called “morning-after” pills, a prescription medication used after sex but before a pregnancy can be confirmed, are exempted from the ban.

Furthermore, any treatment necessary to protect a woman “from an imminent peril that substantially endangers her life or health,” as well as any treatment of a “natural miscarriage according to currently accepted medical guidelines” are also exempt.

Ban on conventional abortion

The governor said he was also allowing enactment, without his signature, of a separate bill passed by state lawmakers to prohibit conventional abortion procedures except when necessary to protect the health and life of the mother, or in case of rape or incest.

An exception is also permitted to end a pregnancy if doctors determine there to be a lethal abnormality of the fetus.

Legal fights over abortion rights have ramped up in the United States following a Supreme Court ruling last year that overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing the procedure.

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