Wyoming Supreme Court rejects abortion ban constitutionality questions — for now

The Wyoming Supreme Court again declined to decide the constitutional questions Judge Owens of the Teton County District Court certified to it. Instead, it strongly encouraged Judge Owens to rule on the pending summary judgment motions. We now await Judge Owens’ ruling on those motions.

Background 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.

Read more about the Abortion Ban Litigation in Wyoming here.