By Dave Andrusko
On Friday two Wyoming legislators and a pro-life group, denied the right to join the case by Judge Melissa Owens, filed a notice of appeal with the state Supreme Court asking that they be allowed to defend the Life is a Human Right Act. Also known as HB0152, the Life is a Human Right Act protects unborn babies except in cases of rape or incest or to save a woman’s life.
Plaintiffs have also challenged Senate Enrolled Act 93. That law made Wyoming the first state to specifically make it illegal “to prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell or use any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion on any person,” with the exceptions for rape, incest, miscarriages and when the mother’s life is at risk.
Peter Modlin, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said “We’ve asked the government to explain the meaning of some of the key statutory terms that we believe are vague and point us to guidance and reference materials that will help physicians understand these terms, because they are not medical terms.”
Judge Owens gave the state 30 days “to identify which medical publications physicians could refer to when navigating the laws’ exceptions,” according to reporter Kate Ready.
The first challenged law, the Life is a Human Right Act, states that all unborn fetuses are granted the unalienable right to life and that abortion deprives the unborn “of life or liberty without due process of law.” A series of medical exceptions allows physicians to provide abortions for lethal fetal anomalies, ectopic pregnancies and for “reasonable medical judgment.” Now the state must elaborate on where physicians turn to determine what’s reasonable.
Alliance Defending Freedom [ADF] attorneys are representing Wyoming Representatives Rachel Rodriguez-Williams and Chip Neiman as well as the pro-life group. They filed the notice of appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court after the trial court on June 3 blocked them from intervening in defense of the Life is a Human Right Act.
“The state of Wyoming is eager to uphold its law affirming that life is a human right and ensure women are given the real health care and support they deserve,” said ADF Senior Counsel Tim Garrison. “Our clients have a clear interest in defending that law, which safeguards the lives of unborn children and the well-being of their mothers. We will urge the Wyoming Supreme Court to allow them to help defend Wyoming’s duly enacted law.”
According to Ready, Garrison stated in court that the advocates “intended to present testimony from physicians to contradict the claim that abortion is health care, evidence around how Wyoming’s Constitution was not meant to protect abortions, testimony showing how the current statutes ‘accommodate all health care concerns raised by doctors,’ and finally, evidence that the laws in question are not vague.”