Wyoming is historically known as the “Equality State” as it was the first to give women the vote in 1869, well before the passage of the 19th amendment in 1920. More notable, Jackson, Wyoming, made a name for itself in 1920 when it became the first town with a civic government of all women. Known as the “petticoat” rulers, Mayor Grace Miller and Rose Crabtree, Mae Deloney, Genevieve Van Vleck and Faustina Haight made up the Town Council after being nominated for the ticket by Jackson citizens when prominent men refused to step up. The state was also first to allow women to own property and sign legal documents.
But on Friday, Wyoming became the first state to ban the use of abortion pills, adding momentum to a growing movement by conservative states and anti-abortion groups to target medication abortion, the method now used in a majority of pregnancy terminations in the United States in the wake of the overturn of Roe V. Wade.
Gov. Mark Gordon of Wyoming, a Republican, signed that state’s abortion pill ban on the same day that he said he would allow another more sweeping measure banning abortion to become law without his signature. That law, which takes effect on Sunday, would ban abortion under almost all circumstances, making it a felony to provide an abortion.
Wyoming’s new law comes as a preliminary ruling is expected soon by a Texas judge that could order the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to withdraw its approval of mifepristone, the first pill in the two-drug medication abortion regimen. Such a ruling, if it stands, could upend how abortion is provided nationally, affecting states where abortion is legal as well as states with bans and restrictions.
Legislation to ban or add restrictions on medication abortion has been introduced in several states this year, including a bill in Texas that would not only ban abortion pills but also require internet service providers to take steps to block medication abortion websites so people in Texas could not view them.
In these states, proposals to block or restrict abortion pills have typically been introduced along with other anti-abortion measures.
Medication abortion is already outlawed in states that have total bans, since those bans already prohibit all forms of abortion.