Abortion Litigation in Wyoming – Fighting to Stop Unconstitutional Restrictions on Our Freedom to Make Personal Decisions About Our Bodies, Futures and Health Care

Since the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade in June of 2022, Chelsea’s Fund has been in litigation to uphold the right to access abortion care in Wyoming. In July of 2022, we filed suit to stop the Wyoming abortion ban from taking effect on July 27th. In response, the District Court granted a preliminary injunction blocking Wyoming’s abortion ban from going into effect until the court could render a decision. In November of 2022, at the State’s request, the District Court referred the case to the Wyoming Supreme Court for decision. In December of 2022, the Wyoming Supreme Court declined to hear the case until further development of the facts.

In March of 2023, the Wyoming legislature passed a new statewide abortion ban that repeals and replaces the ban our existing lawsuit contested. Governor Gordon allowed this new ban, and a second outlawing medication aboriton, to pass into law on March 18th, 2023. This ban again sought to make abortion illegal in Wyoming. In response, we filed a new lawsuit to overturn this ban, as well as a request for a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking the ban until the court can rule on our case. On March 22nd, 2023, our TRO request was granted, allowing abortion to remain legal in Wyoming until the court renders a contrary decision. In June, 2023, the court also granted a TRO for the medication abortion ban that was set to go into effect on July 1, 2023.

We currently await a decision by the District Court on cross-motions for summary judgment on our claims of the bans’ unconstitutionality. Undoubtedly, the losing side will appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court for a final decision on the abortion bans.

Below are the pleadings in both the July 2022 and the March 2023 cases.

  • June 24th, 2022 – SCOTUS releases Dobb’s decision, overturning Roe v. Wade.
  • July 25th, 2022 – Chelsea’s Fund and other plaintiffs file suit to prevent Wyoming’s abortion ban from going into effect on July 27th.
  • July 28th, 2022 – District Court temporarily blocks abortion ban to give court time to consider our lawsuit.
  • August 10th, 2022 – District Court grants preliminary injunction blocking abortion ban until the case can be decided.
  • November 30th, 2022 – District Court denies petition from Wyoming Right to Life to intervene in the case.
  • November 30th, 2022 – District Court refers the case to the Wyoming Supreme Court.
  • December 20th, 2022 – Wyoming Supreme Court declines to hear the case at this time.
  • December 29th, 2022 – Wyoming Right to Life files an appeal of their denied motion to intervene.
  • March 17th, 2023 – In anticipation of a new Wyoming abortion ban that would override our existing lawsuit, Chelsea’s Fund and other plaintiffs file a new complaint contesting the legality of the new ban. We also filed a request for a temporary restraining order blocking the new ban until a court can rule on the merits of our lawsuit.
  • March 18th, 2023 – Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon allows a new abortion ban in the state to become law, making abortion immediately illegal in Wyoming. The governor also signed a ban on the use of medication abortion that will take effect on July 1st, 2023.
  • March 22nd, 2023 – Judge Owens grants Chelsea’s Fund’s request for a temporary restraining order blocking the enforcement of Wyoming’s new abortion ban until our case can be heard.
  • May 10th, 2023 – Chelsea’s Fund and other plaintiffs submit a motion for a temporary restraining order blocking the enforcement of the medication abortion ban slated to take effect on July 1st, 2023. Chelsea’s Fund et al. also submitted a memorandum of support outlining our arguments for not enforcing the pending ban.
  • May 25th, 2023 – The State of Wyoming files their response to our request for a TRO.
  • June 9th, 2023 – Chelsea’s Fund and other plaintiffs file a reply to the State’s response to the TRO.
  • June 22nd, 2023 – Judge Owens grants Temporary Restraining Order blocking enforcement of the medication abortion ban from taking effect on July 1st.
  • July 20th, 2023 – Judge Owens denies the Motion to Intervene by Right to Life Wyoming, Representatives Rachel Rodriguez-Williams and Chip Neiman, and Secretary of State Chuck Gray.
  • August 2nd, 2023 – Chelsea’s Fund and other plaintiffs submit an expert witness designation including reports from following experts:
    Dr. Ghazaleh Moayedi (CV)
    Prof. Rebecca Peters (CV)
    Rabbi Danya Rutenberg (CV)
    Michael A. Blonigen (CV)
  • August 4, 2023 – Proposed intervenors Right to Life Wyoming, Rep. Rodriguez-Williams and Rep. Neiman file Notice of Appeal of denial of intervention.
  • August 16th, 2023 – Order on Motion to Compel, largely granting our Motion and requiring the State to answer most of our interrogatories and requests for admission.
  • September 5th, 2023 – The State files a Motion to Strike Expert Witnesses and to Exclude Their Testimony in this Case.
  • September 15, 2023 – Proposed intervenors file appellant brief in WY Supreme Court.
  • September 19, 2023 – Chelsea’s Fund and other plaintiffs file our Motion for Summary Judgment and Memo in Support.
  • September 19, 2023 – Written order granting TRO on medication abortion ban.
  • October 5, 2023 – Wyoming files its Response to our Motion for Summary Judgment and its Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment, along with the following exhibits and related filings:Amici
  • October 16, 2023 – Various Wyoming physicians file Motion for Leave to file Amici Curaie Brief in support of the State Defendants.
  • October 30, 2023 – Chelsea’s Fund et al. file Appellee brief in WY Supreme Court opposing intervention.
  • November 3, 2023 – We file responses to the State’s summary judgment pleadings.
    • Plaintiffs’ Memo in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment
    • Plaintiffs’ Opposition to Defendant’s Request for Judicial Notice
    • Statement of Disputed Material Facts in Opposition to State’s MSJ
  • December 7, 2023 – Order Denying State’s motion to exclude our expert testimony
  • February 2, 2024 – Wyoming Supreme Court Opinion affirming denial of motion to intervene in the case by Right to Life Wyoming, Rep. Rodriquez-Williams and Rep. Neiman.