District Judge Melissa Owens granted a restraining order on the law, which went into effect on Sunday, according to multiple reports.
“The state can not legislate away a constitutional right. It’s not clear whether abortion is health care. The court has to then decide that,” Owens said, per the Associated Press.
Pro-abortion rights groups brought the lawsuit and argued that abortion is protected in the state’s constitution. They said abortion is healthcare.
The Life is a Human Right Act was signed into law by Gov. Mark Gordon (R-WY) last week but has been paused until the lawsuit is resolved. The law banned abortion except in instances of incest, sexual assault, or in cases in which the mother’s life is endangered.
Gordon had expressed concern the law would be halted by a lawsuit in a statement when the law was passed last week. He said an amendment to the state constitution via referendum would be the better option.
“I understand the legislature’s effort to improve Wyoming’s pro-life legal framework and preemptively clarify some of these legal questions with HEA 0088’s various legislative findings. However, I believe this question needs to be decided as soon as possible so that the issue of abortion in Wyoming can be finally resolved, and that is best done with a vote of the people,” Gordon said.
The legal challenge is the latest in a slew of lawsuits nationwide attempting to block abortion restrictions. The Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade in its opinion in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in June.