These witnesses, including religious, medical, and legal experts, have been put forward by the plaintiffs. The state's attorney, Special Assistant Attorney General Jay Jerde, argues that none of the witnesses should be allowed to participate or provide testimony, citing Rule 702 of the Wyoming Rules of Evidence and the 10th Circuit Court case Specht v. Jensen.
Jerde contends that witnesses must offer expert-backed evidence relevant to the case but cannot testify on "ultimate issues of law," which includes the interpretation of statutory language in the abortion bans. While the upcoming trial will be decided by a judge, not a jury, Jerde refers to the Specht opinion, which suggests that lawyers giving their legal conclusions as expert witnesses may confuse jurors.
However, the opinion also acknowledges that not all legal opinions need to be excluded from witness testimony.
Jerde employs complex legal arguments to reject the plaintiffs' requests, but this strategy has not been very successful thus far. For example, the state refused to answer discovery questions on the grounds that the case revolves around purely legal questions, similar to the argument against allowing witnesses. However, the judge ruled that the state must answer most of the questions posed by the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs continue to raise various constitutional concerns, including issues related to the Wyoming State Constitution's health provision, due process, equal protection, and the religion establishment clause. The case is scheduled for trial in April, and until then, the enforcement of the abortion bans remains halted in district court, allowing most abortions to remain legal in Wyoming.
Retained expert witnesses include:
1. Dr Ghazaleh Moayedi: the affects of Wyoming's abortion statutes on Physicians and women.
2. Professor Rebecca Peters: Origins and history of religious beliefs.
3. Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg: Jewish beliefs on when life begins.
4. Michael Blonigen: Statute law.
5. Dr. Giovannina Anthony: Gynecological and obstetrics care.