Abortion Providers Continue Legal Battle to Keep Abortion Legal in Wyoming
On Wednesday, plaintiffs in the case that temporarily blocked Wyoming's abortion trigger ban filed a new motion hoping to extend the block on the state’s abortion trigger ban.
The plaintiffs, in this case, include Danielle Johnson, a resident of Teton County who was 22 weeks pregnant when the case was filed, Kathleen Dow, a conservative Jew whose faith requires abortion access, Dr. Giovannina Anthony and Dr. Rene Hinkle, two Obstetrics and Gynecology specialist, an abortion fund, and the Wellspring Health Access Clinic in Casper.
Wyoming's abortion ban was blocked when a Teton County judge issued a temporary restraining order on July 27, the day the ban was set to take effect, blocking implementation until another hearing on Aug. 9.
At that hearing, the judge will decide whether to continue preventing Wyoming from enforcing the abortion ban or allow the law to take effect.
When granting the original temporary restraining order, the judge said that due to the irreparable harm that could be experienced if the abortion ban was allowed to go through, she was blocking the implementation of the law.
Elliot Levy, a public relations specialist for Sunshine Sachs Morgan and Lylis who are working with Wellspring Health Access, said the hearing will be on Aug. 9, but they don't expect to get a ruling for several weeks.
Levy said they believe the judge is considering the constitutionality of banning abortion in Wyoming, due to the state constitution having a provision protecting healthcare access.
"I think the simplest way to characterize it is that when the judge issued this restraining order, is that basically what she was saying was that the challenge to the ban raises these important questions about the Wyoming constitution," Levy said. "And there's this provision, does that apply to abortion, and what does it mean in practice? And so basically, the plaintiffs, the providers, the abortion fund, the folks challenging the ban, basically lay out a convincing enough case that this is an important constitutional question that has to be answered so therefore we're going to put this law on hold in the meantime while we sort this out. So the hearing that's coming up is really going to focus on the arguments the substance of the arguments that plaintiffs are making about why the law is unconstitutional."
Under Article 1, Section 38, the Wyoming constitution states "Each competent adult shall have the right to make his or her own health care decisions. The parent, guardian or legal representative of any other natural person shall have the right to make health care decisions for that person."
Levy said that the proposed Casper clinic, which hopes to be open by the end of the year, will still provide other healthcare services even if they are not able to perform abortions.
Bridget Hill, Wyoming's Attorney General, said it is their policy to not comment on pending litigation.