Judges in Wyoming and North Dakota temporarily stopped abortion restrictions that were scheduled to go into effect this week amid lawsuits alleging that the bans violated the state constitutions of those states.
On Wednesday, a judge in Wyoming sided with a women’s health clinic that had been firebombed and others who said the ban would hurt medical professionals and their patients, while a judge in North Dakota sided with the state’s sole abortion facility, Red River Women’s Clinic in Fargo.
On Wednesday, the Wyoming law was supposed to go into force. On Thursday, the North Dakota law was scheduled to go into force.
In the meantime, a prohibition was passed by West Virginia lawmakers despite opposition from numerous speakers and protestors.
Screams and yells from demonstrators outside the chamber echoed throughout the House of Delegates in West Virginia throughout the hours of debate that preceded the 69-23 vote, which was dominated by Republicans.
The audience shouted, “Face us.”
According to the most recent legal proceedings, North Dakota and Wyoming have joined the list of states, along with Kentucky, Louisiana, and Utah, where judges have temporarily prohibited the adoption of “trigger legislation” while litigation are pending.
The Wyoming abortion “trigger” law went into effect on Wednesday, but lawyers appearing before Teton County District Judge Melissa Owens in Jackson, Wyoming, disagreed on whether the state constitution guaranteed a right to the procedure.
However, Owens gained the greatest support with his claims that the restriction put pregnant women at risk for catastrophic consequences and their doctors in a precarious situation as they had to weigh grave medical risks against the prospect of being charged with a crime.
“The plaintiffs may have suffered an irreparable loss as a result. They have no direction left,” stated Owens.
Recently, some states, including Wyoming, established “trigger” abortion bans in case the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which occurred on June 24. On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court formally handed down its decision.
The Wyoming abortion ban, which Republican Gov. Mark Gordon signed into law in March, was supposed to go into effect on Wednesday after more than three weeks of review, but it has been put on hold as a result of the decision.
The Wyoming law would forbid abortions unless they were necessary to prevent rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life or health, excluding psychological issues. Under Wyoming’s new law, medical professionals and others who perform unlawful abortions face up to 14 years in jail.
The new rule is being challenged in court by four Wyoming women, two charity organisations, and others on the grounds that it infringes on a number of state constitutional rights. Jay Jerde, special assistant attorney general for Wyoming, expressed scepticism and claimed that neither the state constitution’s explicit nor implicit provisions on abortion permitted.
Such a right doesn’t exist. Jerde said to Owens, “You can’t trespass on something isn’t there.
The lawsuit asserts that the abortion prohibition will hurt the women, including two obstetricians, a nursing student at the University of Wyoming, and a pregnant nurse, by making it illegal to treat their patients or themselves with potentially life-saving measures.
A nonprofit organisation called Wellspring Health Access, which would have provided abortions, is among those suing. The clinic’s opening was delayed from mid-June until at least the end of this year due to an arson attempt in May.
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Judge Bruce Romanick of Burleigh County, North Dakota, sided with the only abortion facility in the state after the state moved swiftly to allow the law to go into force. The clinic had contended that the 30-day period should not have begun before the Tuesday certification of the verdict by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The decision will give the Red River abortion facility additional time to move a short distance to Moorhead, Minnesota, where abortion is still permitted. According to North Dakota’s law, abortion is prohibited in the state except in situations involving rape, incest, or the mother’s life.
The plaintiffs “will do everything in our power to fight this restriction and keep abortion accessible in North Dakota for as long as possible,” according to Meetra Mehdizadeh, attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is assisting the clinic with the lawsuit.
On the House floor in West Virginia, lawmakers on Wednesday debated a comprehensive abortion prohibition bill that would make performing the procedure a felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail. The legislation offers an exception for rape or incest up to 14 weeks into pregnancy and for specific medical issues.
Republican Del. Brandon Steele of Raleigh County, one of the bill’s sponsors, said, “What’s ringing in my ears is not the sounds of the people here.” “Tens of thousands of unborn children are dead today. It is the cries of the unborn.”
The bill will now be considered by the Senate.
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia claimed that a 19th-century legislation outlawed abortion in the state after the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade. A state judge this week prohibited the state from implementing that prohibition, declaring that it was superseded by incompatible, newer statutes.
For the discussion, hundreds of people flocked to the state Capitol. Many individuals sang and held signs that read “we will not go quietly” and “stop stealing our health care” as they gathered outside the House chamber and Speaker Roger Hanshaw’s office. Some were led out of the House rooms by security guards.
On the House floor, dozens of people spoke against the bill, including Katie Quionez, executive director of the Women’s Health Center of West Virginia, who was interrupted and forced to leave after beginning to discuss the abortion she had at the age of 17.
She added, lifting her voice to speak over the interruption, “I choose life.” Because my life is sacred, I choose to live.