by Pete Jones
CHEYENNE, the United States, March 23 (Xinhua) -- The battle surrounding abortion rights is heating up in the United States as the two western states of Wyoming and California recently took pro-choice actions, lifting the spirit of American pro-abortion advocates.
The sparsely-populated, conservative western state of Wyoming gave abortion rights advocates a shot in the arm Wednesday as a judge surprisingly rejected a five-day-old ban on abortions, after Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon signed into law the nation's first explicit ban on abortion pills last Friday since last year's landmark Supreme Court reversal of the half-century Roe v. Wade decision that gave women the national right to an abortion.
Gordon, a Republican, also allows a separate measure restricting abortion to become law without his signature.
"When the Wyoming Legislature passes unconstitutional bills attacking trans rights and abortion access, it degrades the integrity of our great state," Wyoming state representative Karlee Provenza posted on Twitter Wednesday.
"I swore an oath to uphold both the Wyoming and the United States Constitutions. The passage of these bills should offend us all," Provenza added.
According to the AP, the pills are already banned in 13 states that have blanket bans on all forms of abortion, and 15 states already have limited access to abortion pills.
Until now, however, no state had passed a law specifically prohibiting such pills, according to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights think tank.
A group seeking to open an abortion and women's health clinic in Casper, Wyoming, was reported to be evaluating legal options.
Meanwhile, about 2,000 km west in the Golden State, the liberal state of California reaffirmed the rights of drug companies to ship abortion pills to other states, and doctors in California who mail abortion pills to people in other states will now be protected from prosecution under a new bill announced last Friday in the state legislature, NBC News reported.
"The bill would not let California extradite doctors who are facing charges in another state for providing abortion medication," NBC said.
"It would also shield doctors from having to pay fines. And it would let California doctors sue anyone who tries to stop them from providing abortions," it added.
However, it would only protect doctors who are in California, media sources noted, which means that if a doctor left California to provide an abortion to someone in another state, the doctor would not be protected.
The author of the bill, State Senator Nancy Skinner, a Democrat from Berkeley, said that California residents traveling in other states, or temporary residents such as college students, should still have access to this treatment that's currently legal in their home state.
"This is essential health care," Skinner said in a press release from her office. "Our health care practitioners should be protected for treating their patients regardless of where their patients are geographically."
Currently, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Vermont have proposed or passed similar laws, according to Skinner's office.