Judge temporarily blocks Wyoming abortion ban

Posted at 7:57 AM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-28 09:57:14-04

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - The same day Wyoming’s abortion ban was expected to take effect, Teton County District Judge Melissa Owens granted a temporary restraining order blocking the ban immediately, reports Wyoming News Now.

The lawsuit, filed by Wellspring Health Access, Chelsea’s Fund, and others, claims the new law violates the state constitution. With a temporary restraining order, the plaintiffs say they aim to preserve the status quo until the merits of action have been determined.

The State of Wyoming, Gov. Mark Gordon, Attorney General Bridget Hill, Teton County Sheriff Matthew Carr, and Jackson Police Chief Michelle Weber are all named in the lawsuit.

Wyoming’s new abortion law would outlaw abortions except in cases of rape or incest or to protect the mother’s life or health, not including psychological conditions.

For the defendants, attorneys argued the plaintiffs have failed to prove that the implicit right to an abortion exists in the state of Wyoming.

Attorney for the State of Wyoming Jay Jerde noted in his response that there is a legal standard for irreparable injury. He said the plaintiffs have a responsibility to show that the alleged harms of the abortion ban rise to that legal definition. He claimed the plaintiffs have not met that burden of proof to support their request for a temporary restraining order on the ban.

Jerde added the ban is a lawful exercise of legislative power and lawmakers have the legal authority to enact any laws not prohibited by the Wyoming constitution or the United States constitution.

After a 15-minute recess, Owens granted the temporary injunction, finding the plaintiffs had compelling arguments in asking the court to preserve the status quo that has been a part of Wyoming since 1977.

The temporary restraining order is effective immediately.

A hearing on the case is scheduled for the beginning of August.