Health Care

Wyoming first state to ban abortion-inducing medication

The new law, signed by Gov. Mark Gordon, bans four common abortion-inducing drugs.
Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon signed the legislation late Friday. (AP Photo/Mead Gruver)

Wyoming will become the first state to ban abortion-inducing medication after Gov. Mark Gordon (R) signed legislation barring the prescription or administration of four drugs commonly used to terminate pregnancies.

The new law, which takes effect later this year, would bar physicians or pharmacists from selling, prescribing or administering the drugs — mifepristone, misoprostol, mifeprex and mifegyne — to patients seeking an abortion.

“I have a strong record of protecting the lives of the unborn, as well as their mothers,” Gordon wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Chuck Gray (R) announcing his support for the measure. “I believe all life is sacred and that every individual, including the unborn, should be treated with dignity and compassion.”

The vast majority of abortions that occur in the United States are medication-induced. 

Gordon’s signature comes just days after a U.S. District Court judge heard arguments in a case over whether to ban one abortion-inducing medication — mifepristone — that was approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration more than two decades ago. That case, before a conservative judge appointed by former President Donald Trump, has the potential to upend decades of precedent across the nation.

Several other states are considering similar bills that would bar or limit the prescription of abortion-inducing legislation, almost a year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the right to an abortion in a landmark decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health.

At the same time he signed the ban on abortion-inducing medication, Gordon allowed another measure to further restrict abortion rights to become law without his signature.

Republican legislators approved that measure, which bans virtually all abortions under just about every circumstance and makes providing an abortion a felony, earlier this week. The measure will take effect in two days.

Both new laws are almost certain to be challenged in court. Several Republican-led states that have tried to restrict abortion access have been stymied by court orders blocking new legislation or executive actions, frustrating anti-abortion rights activists who have tried to act quickly in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case.