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Judge Strikes Down Wyoming Ban on Abortion Medications

On Wednesday, we noted that Arkansas was the first state to ban gender-affirming treatments for minors, which meant that Arkansas got to be the first state sued over trying to ban gender-affirming treatments for minors, and that it was the first state to see its ban on gender-affirming treatments for minors overturned by a judge. Yesterday, Wyoming got a variant of the Arkansas treatment, as the Cowboy State was the first to ban the prescription, sale and use of abortion pills; the first to be sued over such a ban; and is now the first to have a judge overturn the ban (at least for now).

The pill ban would have taken effect in a little over a week, on July 1, but Teton County District Court judge Melissa Owens said that it appears to be an overreach in terms of government authority. "Essentially the government under this law is making the decision for a woman rather than the woman making her own health care choice, which is what the overwhelming majority in Wyoming decided that we should get to do," she observed. So, an injunction it will be until the Court can hold full hearings on the matter. Owens has also imposed an injunction on the state's total abortion ban, which will also remain in place until a full hearing is held.

Since Roe was struck down—one year ago tomorrow, by the way—a pretty clear dynamic has presented itself. Red-state legislatures, where either the governor is on board or their veto can be overriden, have imposed exceedingly strict limits on abortion access. And they've not only endeavored to severely limit or eliminate the procedure within their own borders (currently legal), they've tried to shut down "loopholes" like traveling out of state, or using abortifacient medication (seeming overreaches of dubious legality).

Pushing in the other direction, meanwhile, are three different entities. The first is voters; every time the matter has been put before the people in the last year, regardless of how red the state, the people have favored abortion rights. The second is blue-state legislatures (like, say, New York, which we wrote about yesterday); those legislatures are doing everything they can to help subvert the red-state legislatures. And the third is judges, who have consistently ruled against the new abortion laws. And we're not just talking the pinko commie judges; Owens, for example, was appointed to the bench by Gov. Mark Gordon (R), whose signature is on the very abortion bills that have now been enjoined.

This leads us to two conclusions. First, if it's judges, voters and blue-state legislatures vs. red-state legislatures, the former clearly has the greater power here. Second, it should have been obvious back on June 24 of last year, and it's certainly obvious a year later, that Dobbs did not "solve" the abortion question, even if the Sam Alitos and Clarence Thomases of the world (maybe?) thought it would. All that the Supreme Court did was eliminate one, somewhat shaky, legal basis for federal protection of abortion. There are clearly a lot of other issues in play here, which means that one day, sooner or later, and probably sooner, this is going to end up on SCOTUS' docket again. Sam and Clarence better be sure to take multiple billionaire-funded vacations between now and then, so they are well-rested. (Z)

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