By Corinne Coakley
On Friday, March 17, Mark Gordon, the Republican governor of Wyoming, passed a law that bans the use of abortion pills in the state. The law will take effect in July 2023 and will make it illegal to “prescribe, dispense, distribute, sell or use any drug for the purpose of procuring or performing an abortion.”
While abortion medication is already prohibited in 13 states with laws that ban all forms of abortion at any point in a pregnancy, no state has explicitly banned abortion pills in a separate law until this Wyoming bill. In several of these states, doctors must administer the medication in person, and in Arizona and Texas it is illegal to mail abortion pills.
About his new piece of legislation, Gov. Gordon said, “I have acted without bias and after extensive prayer, to allow these bills to become law.”
Oh, thank goodness, Mark, I was worried you hadn’t prayed before writing the law. When I picture legislators hard at work, I always imagine their hands pressed together, heads bowed, eyes closed, saying grace over documents that determine what I can do with my body, like when I was a child and my mom made us say grace over our freshly-cooked, steaming dinners. The only difference is, when we held hands around the kitchen table, not much was at stake, just the consistency of our family ritual. A little different for you, Mark, but no matter! Prayer is prayer, after all, and the separation of church and state is for all those woke folk!
But Mark, I won’t give you all the credit for stripping women of their bodily autonomy in the name of faith, your buddies in Texas are also hard at work.
An anti-abortion group called the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine filed a lawsuit against the FDA, challenging the approval of mifepristone and misoprostol, two common abortion pills, back in 2000. The lawsuit seeks to “withdraw mifepristone and misoprostol as FDA-approved chemical abortion drugs,” and the case had its first hearing in a Texas court in front of a notoriously anti-abortion federal judge (US District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryck, appointed by Donald Trump).
If the anti-abortion group succeeds and these abortion pills lose their status as FDA-approved, the entire nation would be significantly impacted, not just the states in which abortion and/or the abortion pill is banned. “If FDA approval of mifepristone is revoked, 64.5 million women of reproductive age in the US would lose access to medication abortion care, an exponential increase in harm overnight,” says NARAL Pro-Choice America.
In a Post-Roe world, medication abortions account for more than half of all abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Not to mention, 61% of Americans believe abortion should be legal, according to Pew Research Center. Why are abortion restrictions so rampant in a nation where the majority of the country doesn’t support these restrictions?
I don’t really have an answer to that question, but I do have a theory about you, Mark, and your Texas buddies: I don’t believe your “extensive prayer” is genuine. I don’t believe you believe you’re acting out God’s will by protecting babies from the wrath of their cruel mothers. I don’t believe you care about the abortion issue at all, instead, I think it’s all a political strategy to appeal to traditionally religious voters.
In fact, the “pro-life” stance was not a united Republican party identity until the 1970s, when Richard Nixon first used the tactic. He announced his anti-abortion views during his presidential campaign, and as a result, he won the election as well as the majority of Catholic votes. After witnessing Nixon’s success, other Republicans began using this strategy to win elections.
Since 1988, only one Republican has won the popular vote in a presidential election, George W. Bush in 2004. On a national level, Republicans are evidently losing support as the years pass, and thus, this anti-abortion strategy is crucial to their campaigning. They rely heavily on Catholic voters to elect them into positions of power.
And so Mark, contrary to your words, I don’t think you wrote this abortion pill ban to act on your faith (which would also be against the ideals of the US Constitution), but because you are power-hungry, and restricting women’s rights is your key to power in a nation whose fate seems to be more and more determined by the minority.