OB-GYN: Abortion ban already a life-threatening risk to six women
The file for the lawsuit challenging Wyoming's new abortion-ban law grew larger on Tuesday with the filing of dozens of pages of new pleadings. (Angus M. Thuermer, Jr./WyoFile)
Wyoming’s new abortion-ban law has prevented a doctor from providing needed health care to six women in the three days it has been in effect, risking life-threatening damage to them, a sworn court statement filed Tuesday says.
Dr. Giovannina Anthony, a plaintiff in a suit challenging the constitutionality of the new law, filed that statement in Ninth District Court on the cusp of a hearing seeking to block the law that bans most abortions. A judge will consider today her and others’ requests to stop implementation and enforcement of the House Bill 152 – Life is a Human Right Act, which went into effect Sunday.
“I have had to cancel the appointments of six patients who were scheduled to receive abortion care that they were entitled to in Wyoming before the Ban went into effect,” Anthony stated in an affidavit. Her office also turned away another prospective patient, she said in the filing, putting seven women in peril.
“If the ban remains in effect, these patients will be compelled to carry pregnancies to term against their wishes or seek ways to end their pregnancies, in other states or without medical supervision, which will increase the risk of permanent and life-threatening damage to their health and wellbeing,” the statement reads.
Many more women will face similar situations if the law remains in effect, her affidavit stated.
“If the Wyoming Criminal Abortion Ban remains in effect, I estimate that, over the course of the next six months, approximately 60 to 90 patients will be denied abortion health care that I otherwise would have provided to them,” her statement reads.
The affidavit was one of a series of documents filed Tuesday in Ninth District Court in Jackson where Judge Melissa Owens is scheduled to preside over arguments today. Two women, two doctors and two pro-choice nonprofits seek a temporary restraining order against the new law and asked Tuesday for even more relief.
Their attorneys added to their TRO request by filing papers saying Owens should grant a longer preliminary injunction and even a permanent injunction. That amended complaint also asks Owens to outright declare the new abortion-ban law unconstitutional.
Wyoming state attorneys filed a 56-page response Tuesday to the request for a TRO, but had not responded to other developments as the clerk of court’s office was closing.
“The public interest favors allowing the Life Act to take effect because it represents a lawful exercise of legislative power,” Wyoming Special Assistant Attorney General Jay Jerde wrote in the state’s response.
The plaintiffs have not shown that they are likely to prevail on the constitutionality issue or that the abortion-ban law would cause irreparable injuries, Jerde wrote. Injuries have to occur to the plaintiffs themselves not to “unnamed individuals in the future,” his filling states.
Although two of the plaintiffs have said they plan to have children in Wyoming, the prospect of the abortion-ban law injuring them is “too remote and speculative,” Jerde’s filing reads.
A similar 2022 abortion-ban law is also tied up in court for violating the constitutional right in Wyoming to make one’s own health care decisions.
In response, the 2023 abortion-ban states “abortion as defined in this act is not health care.” The 2023 law replaces the older one.
Therefore the new law does not violate the Wyoming Constitution, the state filing says.
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