March 2023 Update

Proposals restricting access to reproductive care

Wyoming legislators, in February 2023, approved a slate of anti-abortion bills (See, (accessed February 2023).). Among other things, the state approved a ban on medication abortion and, in a bold move decried by physicians and patient advocates, authorize criminal charges against doctors and nurses who perform abortions or prescribe medication for abortions, which can result in up to five years imprisonment. For those who practice reproductive medicine, this measure and others like it may have a profound effect on care for miscarriage mismanagement (

Taxes, religious freedom, and additional out-of-the-box proposals

Abortion choice proponents in Wyoming have challenged the states’ laws on grounds that they violate individuals’ religious freedom. Anti-abortion advocates, in response, also hold up religious freedom as a plausible defense to being required to perform or otherwise facilitate the procedure. The rulings in these cases, all of which remain outstanding at time of publication, will set important precedent. 

Banning Medication Abortion

Conservatives have taken notice and related actions to block medication abortion. Medication abortion is already banned in states with abortion bans. On March 17, 2023, Wyoming’s governor signed legislation banning medication abortion, making it the first state to do so in a standalone bill.[26] This move is in line with a concerted effort to ensure abortion remains out of reach for Wyoming’s citizens. (Id. In pertinent part: “Mr. Gordon said in the letter that he withheld his signature from the broader abortion ban because he feared it would complicate matters in an ongoing legal battle over an earlier abortion ban passed by Wyoming legislators. The broader ban outlaws medication abortion as well, and the measure that bans abortion pills would mostly have the effect of adding additional penalties for medication abortion providers.”)

as of July 2022

Trigger Law Statutory Cite(s)

Does this law have a potential impact on IVF/Reproductive medicine?

Why or why not?

  • This bill will likely have no impact on IVF and ART services prior to establishment of a pregnancy.
  • In Wyoming, abortion is specifically related to a pregnant woman who intends to terminate their pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy requires a human embryo to be inside a woman as a result of conception. Actions regarding an embryo that is not within a pregnant woman’s body would likely not be considered violating this law.
  • The statute does define “conception”, but the term is used only in the context of defining “pregnant” and the prohibition is limited to abortion of a pregnancy.  

Does this law explicitly reference IVF, assisted reproductive technology or reproductive medicine?


Are there any penalties in this law that could apply to ART procedures?

The law does not appear to be applicable to ART procedures.  However, violation would be a felony punishable by no more than 14 years imprisonment.

Relevant definitions

  • Abortion” means an act, procedure, device or prescription administered to or prescribed for a pregnant woman by any person with knowledge of the pregnancy, including the pregnant woman herself, with the intent of producing the premature expulsion, removal or termination of a human embryo or fetus, except that in cases in which the viability of the embryo or fetus is threatened by continuation of the pregnancy, early delivery after viability by commonly accepted obstetrical practices shall not be construed as an abortion.
  • Conception” means the fecundation of the ovum by the spermatozoa.
  • Pregnant” means that condition of a woman who has a human embryo or fetus within her as the result of conception.  

Do the definitions/terms of the trigger law apply to other areas of state code?

The trigger law repeals certain sections of existing State law regulating abortion.

What is the “trigger” for this law to take effect?

Trigger law takes effect:
  • Five days after the date that the Governor, on advice of the Attorney General, certifies to the Secretary of State that the Supreme Court of the United States has overruled Roe v. Wade; or
  • Has otherwise authorized the enforcement of this subsection in accordance with that decision and without violating any conditions, rights, or restrictions recognized by the Supreme Court.

Key provisions: What does the law prohibit and when does it apply?

  • An abortion should not be performed except when necessary to:
    • (1) prevent serious risk of death or of substantial and irreversible impairment of bodily function, not for psychological or mental conditions; or
    • (2) pregnancy is a result of incest or sexual assault.
  • No state appropriated funds are to be used for an abortion unless one of the exceptions applies.
  • Anyone that violates W.S. § 35-6-102 is guilty of a felony that is punishable for not more than 14 years. 

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