On Mar. 17, Wyoming became the first state to outlaw medication abortion through the use of pills. Medication abortion is currently the most used form of abortion measures taken in the United States. Following Dobbs v. Jackson overturning Roe v. Wade last June, America faced a changing landscape in abortion law.
Wyoming, governed by Republican Mark Gordon, signed into law a singular bill that went beyond the Supreme Court case and other medical restrictions on abortions. The bill sets a new precedent by becoming the first one to explicitly ban abortion pills. Other bills speak more broadly when discussing abortion abolition. For example, they speak more broadly about pregnancy termination or the limitation of surgical abortion.
There are two primary forms of abortion: surgical and medical abortion. The first is what is typically associated with abortion. Surgical abortion – or suction curettage abortion – is considered to have less risk associated with pregnancy persisting. Preference for surgical abortion includes a higher effectiveness rate, fewer appointments (indicating less of a time commitment), and less bleeding compared to medical abortion. To contrast, medical abortion is completed through pills and is more effective in the earlier moments of pregnancy. Medical abortion – which has recently been outlawed in Wyoming – has fewer risks of infection, cervical injury, or uterine perforation. Furthermore, the stigma associated with surgical abortion leads to people preferring medical abortion. Medical abortion’s other benefits include more privacy since it can be done in the privacy of one’s home or in a trusted doctor’s office. As a result, medical abortion is the preferred method of pregnancy termination.
Wyoming’s decision to outlaw medical abortion has momentous consequences. Beginning in July, the implementation of this bill would make the drug – mifepristone – inaccessible to those in Wyoming. Rapid legislation to limit access to abortion measures has immediate effects. For example, in Wyoming, there is only one clinic that currently distributes these pills. It is the Women’s Health & Family Care Clinic. The shift from a surgical abortion ban to a medical abortion ban arises following the changing political landscape. Nevertheless, 13 other states have outlawed all forms of abortion in majority-Republican states. Therefore, it comes as no surprise when Wyoming is 57% Republican or leaning Republican. In contrast, in states swing states like Iowa and Democratic Hawaii which both have bills aimed to limit abortion access, these bills have been less successful. Other states like Texas have attempted to limit internet access to websites containing information about abortion, like Plan C.
Ultimately, it is up to states’ sovereignty to determine whether or not they will allow their citizens to have access to abortion. This sentiment was handed down from the Dobbs v. Jackson decision from the Supreme Court. Yet, women’s accessibility to abortions is largely determined by the information provided to them.
Edited by: Maria Cornejo
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