UPDATE: Judge grants preliminary injunction on abortion trigger ban

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 1:53 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Teton County District Judge Melissa Owens granted a preliminary junction Wednesday that delays the enforcement of Wyoming’s abortion ban.

In the wake of the decision, abortion access advocates have noted their positive feelings over the decision.

“You know I have to say I am so grateful that we have the legal process to at least make a case it makes me feel like as a concerned citizen and a health care provider at least I have some sort of voice,” said abortion provider Giovannina Anthony.

Advocates on the pro-life side have voiced their displeasure with the injunction.

“The legislative body is going to do what the legislative body is going to do, the judicial branch is going to do what they’re going to do, and then the executive branch is going to do what they’re going to do, and Governor Gordon has been great in signing 3 pieces of pro-life legislation, and I think the judicial branch is under the curve and if they need to be replaced lets look at that when it comes to voting,” said State Representative John Romero-Martinez.

Almost two weeks after granting a temporary restraining order to block Wyoming’s abortion ban, Teton County District Judge Melissa Owens heard arguments for and against a preliminary injunction on the state’s abortion ban.

A motion for a preliminary injunction against the ban was filed on Aug. 3 by Wellspring Health Access, Chelsea’s Fund, and others.

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

Governor Mark Gordon (R-Wyo.) signed the bill into law in March. On July 22, he certified the abortion ban to the Secretary of State. The ban was expected to go into effect five days following the certification.

In the motion for the preliminary injunction, the plaintiffs wrote that issuing the injunction is in the public interest, “as avoiding potential violation of a party’s constitutional rights is always in the public interest.”

Before beginning the hearing, Judge Owens told the plaintiffs and defendants their arguments did not need to focus on irreparable harm as that was decided when she granted the temporary restraining order.

Attorney John Robinson with Wellspring Health Access, an abortion care clinic in Casper, and Chelsea’s Fund, a Wyoming abortion fund, argued that the trigger ban would infringe on the fundamental rights of Wyoming citizens. During the hearing, he argued that the right to privacy, which he refers to as the “right to be left alone” has been upheld by Wyoming courts and the state constitution.

Robinson noted the words “abortion,” “marriage,” “family,” and “thousands of medical procedures” do not appear in the state constitution.

For the State of Wyoming, attorney Jay Jerde argued that the plaintiffs were trying to shift the burden to the state, instead of showing that fundamental rights are deeply rooted in the history and tradition of the country. During the hearing, he argued that health care decisions protected under Article 1 Section 38, are only for health care service options that are legally available.

Jerde added that when Article 1 Section 38 was being voted on, the provision was directed at the Affordable Care Act, not on conferring a right to abortion.

Judge Melissa Owens stated that she needed to look further into the evidence provided on both sides and did not make a ruling from the bench.

Copyright 2022 Wyoming News Now. All rights reserved.