Wyoming seeks to expedite case on challenge to abortion ban

August 19, 2022 GMT

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming’s attorney general’s office wants the state Supreme Court to take on a lower court lawsuit contesting a state ban on abortion in nearly all cases.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports the office on Thursday filed a motion with Teton County District Court Judge Melissa Owens to let the state ask the Supreme Court to accept the case in hopes of expediting its resolution.

The law banning abortion in most cases briefly took effect July 27, but Owens has issued orders suspending the law while the lawsuit proceeds, finding the law would harm pregnant women and their doctors and that constitutional questions need to be answered.

Owens is set to consider the state’s motion at an Aug. 24 hearing, the News & Guide reported Friday.

The Wyoming law would ban abortion except in cases of rape or incest or to protect the mother’s life or health, not including psychological condition. Those who violate the ban would be charged with a felony punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

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Gov. Mark Gordon, a Republican, signed the “trigger” ban into law in March. The law was written to take effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decision, which happened June 24.

“The question at the heart of this case is whether the Wyoming Constitution confers a right to abortion, either explicitly or implicitly,” reads the filing by Special Assistant Attorney General Jay Jerde.

Four women, including two obstetricians, and two nonprofits, including a planned Casper women’s health care and abortion clinic that was firebombed in May, have sued to contest the law.

The plaintiffs say the bill violates a multitude of rights afforded to them in the state Constitution, including their right to privacy and the right to make their own health care decisions.