Abortion in Wyoming

Overview of abortion law in Wyoming

Abortion remains legal in Wyoming but with increasing restrictions and ongoing legal battles that create uncertainty about access now and in the coming years. Read on for detailed information about getting an abortion in Wyoming or accessing services out-of-state if needed.

Legality and restrictions

Abortion is currently legal in Wyoming until fetal viability, which is generally considered to be around 23-24 weeks gestation when a fetus might be able to survive outside of the womb with intensive medical intervention. Wyoming has an existing law that could ban abortion with few exceptions, but enforcement of that ban is currently blocked pending legal challenges.

Wyoming does have several restrictions in place including mandatory parental consent for minors under 18 and limitations on the use of telemedicine to provide medication abortion services.

Current legal status and recent changes

In March 2023, Wyoming lawmakers passed a near-total ban on abortion that was slated to take effect immediately. However, that new law which aimed to prohibit abortion from conception with limited exceptions for rape, incest or danger to the life of the pregnant person, has been temporarily blocked pending ongoing lawsuits. Abortion remains legal under previous Wyoming state laws that allow abortion until viability. The legal landscape continues to evolve though creating uncertainty about future abortion access.

Getting an abortion in Wyoming

If you are currently seeking an abortion in Wyoming, here are some key things to understand about your options before and after viability:

Before viability

If your pregnancy has not yet reached viability at about 23-24 weeks gestation, you still have the right to access abortion care in Wyoming. Although legally allowed in Wyoming until viability, many abortion providers have shorter limits on gestational age for when they will perform abortions. Finding a provider is getting harder with limits as soon as 6 weeks at the only clinic left in the state, located in Jackson.

Use our searchable database to find a provider that offers abortion care up to the timeline you require. Call ahead as gestational limits can change.

After viability

Accessing an abortion after 24 weeks is extremely limited even in states with strong abortion protections, given both medical complexities and ethical considerations about viability. Exceptions in Wyoming’s current laws do allow for a post-viability abortion only in cases where it is necessary to preserve the pregnant person’s life or health. Procedures at this stage are only performed by specialized providers. Speak to your doctor or clinic if you are facing this difficult situation to understand your options.

For minors

If you are under 18 in Wyoming, a parent or legal guardian must give consent before an abortion can be provided. Some clinics may require notarized written consent from a parent. If involving a parent or guardian is not possible or safe for your situation, you can legally bypass this requirement through a formal court process called judicial bypass with the help of a lawyer or legal advocate. Contact the confidential JB Helpline at 844-868-2812 or If/When/How for assistance with judicial bypass.

Out of state options

Another option especially later in pregnancy is to access abortion services out-of-state in places with less restrictive laws such as Colorado. Interstate travel makes access harder for many in terms of costs, work schedules, and childcare needs. Check resources below for groups that provide some financial assistance and logistical support like transportation and lodging. Consider flexibility of your schedule if needing to make multiple trips.

Finding an abortion provider

Here are some reputable resources to help you find a legitimate abortion provider in Wyoming or surrounding states:

Verified providers

Search INEEDANA.COM for a vetted, unbiased list of licensed abortion clinics and providers located both in Wyoming and nearby states. Confirm directly with any provider that they are currently offering services up to the timeline you require before booking appointments to ensure availability.

Assistance programs

If struggling with barriers around the costs of travel and accommodations for accessing care, the National Network of Abortion Funds can connect you with local organizations or national programs that assist with funding. Most require some appointment details before approving assistance but can cover travel-related expenses as well as part or all of the procedure costs if eligible. Call the NAF Hotline any time at 1-800-772-9100 to explore options.

Wyoming abortion laws in detail

To understand the context behind current access challenges and potential future scenarios, here’s some background on specific existing laws in Wyoming that govern legal abortion:

No waiting period

Wyoming is one of only a few states without a mandatory waiting period law to require multiple trips to a clinic spaced by 24 hours or more apart. Currently if you do make an appointment with an abortion provider in Wyoming, there is no legally-mandated separate step for state-directed counseling or additional visits so services can often be obtained in one day.

See also  Abortion in California

Eliminating waiting periods reduces travel burdens and helps patients access earlier and safer abortion care during the first trimester. However, new laws in pending court cases could introduce waiting periods in the future depending on legal outcomes.

Parental consent for minors

Wyoming does require documented parental consent before a minor under the age of 18 can receive an abortion. As an alternative in situations where informing parents is difficult or dangerous, pregnant minors do have the option to pursue a formal judicial bypass process with the courts as mentioned earlier.

Legal until viability

Wyoming’s current laws permit abortion until estimated fetal viability which occurs around 24 weeks gestation on average when a fetus might be able to survive outside the womb given specialized medical intervention. Doctors determine viability on an individual basis for each patient depending on specifics of fetal development.

Most Wyoming clinics stop performing abortions much earlier than 24 weeks though due to limited staffing and resources. Finding an experienced provider for second trimester abortions is difficult even legally permitted.

Exceptions after viability

Wyoming does have exceptions after the 24 week mark where abortion can still be legally provided to save the life or protect the health of the pregnant patient. Procedures at this stage require expertise from physicians with specialized training in complex cases.

Recent legal changes and current status

Wyoming now faces one of the most uncertain landscapes nationally in terms of future abortion access due to conflicting trigger bans, temporary injunctions and multiple lawsuits still pending. Here’s a recap of the key recent changes:

Currently blocked ban

A new law passed in March 2023 aimed to ban abortion from conception onward. That law which only provided narrow exceptions for rape or incest reported to law enforcement or serious health impacts was set to immediately take effect and shut down the state’s few remaining clinics. However it is not currently in effect because enforcement has been temporarily halted through at least April 2023 while legal challenges proceed.

Ongoing legal challenges

As the March 2023 total ban remains blocked for now, earlier “trigger ban” legislation is simultaneously being disputed in courts. Approved back in March 2022, Wyoming has a separate law which would ban abortion also without exceptions for rape or incest, meant to take effect if Roe v. Wade was overturned. Within hours of the Supreme Court undoing federal protections for abortion access, yet another lawsuit was filed by local advocates aiming to challenge this pending trigger law.

This creates confusing layers of contradictory bans and injunctions. For now a judge has agreed access should continue while this gets resolved in coming months. The Governor plans to invest significant money in defending restrictions so the fight is ongoing.

Accessing abortion services

While the courts settle key questions around which bans can take effect in Wyoming and under what timelines, the most practical advice is to seek qualified abortion care as soon as possible if newly pregnant. Here are tips for finding a provider either locally or out-of-state nearby:

In-state provider options

Accessing an abortion provider in Wyoming is becoming extremely time sensitive and limited. Anti-abortion restrictions were already making options sparse across this very rural conservative state and new laws threaten to eliminate all clinics.

Availability by location

Only Jackson, Wyoming still has an operating clinic as of early 2023 in the entire state, causing massive access gaps. Those without reliable transportation or flexibility to take time off work are most impacted, along with low-income patients struggling to fund travel/accommodations to reach even that sole urban provider up to 6-8 hours away.

See also  Abortion in New Jersey

Wyoming does have an additional law restricting provision of medication abortions through telemedicine which further concentrates services geographically. Finding any assistance online or over the phone to end a Wyoming pregnancy is virtually impossible under that policy without significant legal risks for informal providers.

Availability by gestational age

The Jackson clinic as the final remaining provider does offer procedural abortions up until 15 weeks gestation, later than 6 week limits in some nearby states which sends patients over state lines. However other states like Colorado have more clinics providing services well into the second trimester so traveling becomes necessary the further you progress in the pregnancy beyond 15 weeks no matter your location in Wyoming.

Urgent legal advice applies in Wyoming to not delay first steps of realizing you are pregnant, confirming through lab testing, calling to explore appointment options early on, and asking questions to understand changing restrictions as new court rulings evolve. Even a waiting period of a few days could push you past the closing window.

Out-of-state provider options

Given extreme access limitations already occurring inside state lines during early stages of Wyoming’s landscape shifting, assuming you may need to travel elsewhere for abortion care is unfortunately prudent.

Nearby states

Colorado in particular has emerged as a regional safe haven for abortion access even later into pregnancy with over a dozen clinics located in Denver/Boulder and along the front range. New Mexico is another potential option especially in the northern part of Wyoming. Montana maintains access currently although legal challenges remain active. Avoiding South Dakota is wise as they have implemented a total ban.

Travel and lodging assistance

Colorado providers and nonprofit partners have worked proactively to launch assistance funds like Cobalt Abortion Fund supporting lodging/gas/flights/childcare/lost wages and more for Wyoming patients forced to find abortions across state lines. To understand your full range of options for financial help to access care, begin with the National Network of Abortion Funds hotline mentioned earlier which can then refer your specific needs.

Financial assistance programs

Whether ultimately choosing an in-state Wyoming provider vs. traveling across state lines to access an abortion, below are some permanent funds providing direct financial assistance worth exploring if cost is a barrier:

Wyoming-based assistance

Unfortunately Wyoming does not have abundant in-state financial assistance programs for abortion care in place currently besides the limited Cobalt Fund if accessing Colorado options. However some national groups can supplement gaps:

  • National Abortion Federation (NAF): Provides limited assistance with abortions nationwide including covering a portion of costs for low-income patients once appointments are made. Call 1-800-772-9100 about eligibility.
  • National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF): Can connect patients to local funds offering help. Includes emergency assistance if struggling to travel quickly. Call 1-800-772-9100 about needs.
  • Planned Parenthood: Has programs providing discounts, payment plans and grants for coverage gaps besides federal programs they accept. Ask your local health center what they offer.
  • TEGA: currently only serving Texas residents but hopes to expand reach over time including potentially to more patients traveling from bordering states like Wyoming. Sign up on waitlist to get alerts if that changes.

National assistance programs

If accessing abortion inside Wyoming specifically, your options for financial assistance are more limited beyond the national groups listed above. However various nonprofit funds and practical support networks around the country have expanded their scope to help patients forced to travel out-of-state. Below are some providing forms of assistance like gas cards, bus tickets, airline vouchers, lodging, childcare reimbursement and direct abortion funding:

  • Cobalt Abortion Fund
  • Door to Healthcare
  • Faith Aloud
  • Haven Coalition
  • Midwest Access Coalition

See the National Network of Abortion Funds directory for any groups missing from this starter list. Most you call directly to explain your specific situation from location in Wyoming to gestational timeline you are facing. They can advise what help might be available through their partners regionally or nationally.

Emotional support resources

Besides logistical hurdles, undergoing an abortion also often has emotional elements from coping with protestors outside clinics to processing complex feelings afterwards – especially given abortion misinformation and stigma culturally. If you need extra support around the psychological impacts, here are compassionate resources:

Counseling and crisis support

Post-abortion support groups

  • Backline – peer support via text, phone, video chat or in-person meetups
  • Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support, Inc – online community and in-person meetups

Other reputable sites like Planned Parenthood and RAINN offer vetted listings of abortion hotlines, talk circles and other mental health resources available 24 hours a day.

The future of abortion access in Wyoming

Wyoming epitomizes the uncertainty unfolding nationwide around abortion laws with both sides launching lawsuits aiming to start or stop various bans tied to the fall of Roe v Wade. The outlook depends significantly on legal technicalities playing out over months if not years.

Potential outcomes of legal challenges

If lawsuits brought by the Governor prevail, Wyoming could enact new near-total or trigger bans limiting abortion as early as 6 weeks with few if any exceptions. However if abortion rights advocates succeed court may block those laws which would default back to existing viability limits we have currently but with accompanying tension and likely efforts to pass other incremental restrictions overtime flanking clinics.

Basic rights in Wyoming hang in the balance awaiting key rulings expected through spring and summer of 2023 if not appealed further by the losing party afterwards. This leaves little concrete guidance for navigating needs presently.

Preparing for changes in access

With clinics only operating week-to-week relying on temporary injunctions shielding them from immediate shutdowns, advance preparation is essential for patients in Wyoming reacting to positive pregnancy tests.

Steps like calling to confirm providers near or far have appointments available before the looming possibility of all care vanishing locally; lining up time off work for multi-day travel now instead of when under tighter deadlines; and proactively applying to all potential financial assistance programs allowing requests before bans kick in can help circumvent the chaos of shifting legal environments. Acting urgently, asking questions persistently, anticipating volatility and expecting to adapt plans along the way are key in the current climate.

FAQs

Is abortion definitely illegal currently in Wyoming?

No, as of February 2023, abortion remains legal in Wyoming up until an ultrasound can detect viability at roughly 24 weeks gestation on average. Multiple laws have been passed trying to ban abortions earlier but courts have temporarily blocked those new restrictions.

What will happen if the pending court cases allow Wyoming’s new bans from 2022-2023 to take effect?

If the trigger ban or total abortion ban laws are ultimately allowed into effect by federal courts, nearly all abortions would become illegal in Wyoming including in cases of rape or incest. Remaining narrow exceptions after that point would likely only include dire health risks to the life of pregnant patient.

Is travel to Colorado or New Mexico a stable option long-term for accessing abortion once Wyoming limits or bans care?

Likely so, but it requires advance planning around appoint booking, transportation logistics, lodging, and financial assistance to mitigate hurdles many will face trying to leave the state last-minute once already pregnant. Some funds exist to specifically aid regional patient travel between nearby states expanding access gaps.

If parental consent is currently required for minors seeking abortions in Wyoming, what options exist if involving family is difficult?

The alternative legal process known as judicial bypass allows a minor to request abortion consent directly through the court system instead of from a parent. Contact the Judicial Bypass Helpline through If/When/How for advice navigating the intricacies and finding local lawyers to assist with paperwork.

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