Abortion on the docket in two Wyoming courts

By Dave Andrusko

The long-simmering battle over Wyoming’s abortion laws will heat-up again this week, according to reporter Kate Ready.

The Wyoming Supreme Court will hear oral arguments from Tim Garrison, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, and decide whether Right to Life of Wyoming and two state legislators–Reps. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams and Chip Neiman –can intervene to defend two pro-life laws.

On June 3, Judge Melissa Owens blocked them from intervening in defense of 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.

“How the state’s highest court rules will directly impact the ongoing case in Teton County, where a hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday in Teton County District Court,” Ready wrote. At issue is 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.

Despite the prospect of a “redo—the Wyoming Supreme Court hearing the case after Judge Owens renders her decision—the plaintiffs and defendants both agreed last month that the hearing should proceed.

According to reporter Ready,

“This case needs to get decided and we need to move it forward,” said Jay Jerde, special assistant attorney general for the state, during a November hearing.

In November, Owens asked the attorneys for the state defendants, including Jerde, and plaintiffs whether the upcoming summary judgment hearing should be postponed, pending the Supreme Court’s decision.

One of the attorneys for the six plaintiffs, John Robinson, agreed with Jerde that the case should move ahead.

However, all parties stated that the possibility remains that the higher court may give them a directive Tuesday to hold off.