The Wyoming legislature has approved a bill to ban abortions that recognizes unborn babies’ right to life and bans abortions. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate approved the Human Right Act (House Bill 152) and now it goes to the governor for his signature.

Sponsored by state Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, the bill would protect unborn babies by prohibiting all elective abortions in Wyoming and creating penalties for abortionists who violate the law.

“[A]ll members of the human race are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, the foremost of which is the right to life,” the bill states.

Wyoming already has a law that bans abortions, but a judge blocked it last year. Rodriguez-Williams’s bill would go further than the current ban by protecting all unborn babies, including those conceived in rape and incest. Her bill also clearly states that the ban does not include abortions when the mother’s life is at risk, or miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy care.

ACTION ALERT: Contact Governor Gordon and urge him to sign the bills.

The measure addresses the issues that have tied up Wyoming’s trigger law in litigation and would protect life immediately upon Gov. Mark Gordon’s signature.

But the question now is whether Gordon will sign it into law like he signed the trigger law banning abortions. Gordon says he is evaluating the constitutionality of the legislation.

“Obviously, one of the most important [considerations] is constitutionality,” he said in a press conference, adding he wants, “to understand how they interplay with one another, how they interplay with existing law. And then also whether there are any unforeseen consequences that could be problematic.”

“I’m still on pins and needles,” Marti Halverson, a former lawmaker and the current president of Right to Life Wyoming, said about the wait on the governor. “It’s crucial that [the two bills] become law in Wyoming.”

Halverson said she wished lawmakers hadn’t amended the bills, but is still supportive of the measures. Early in the session, she advocated against abortion ban exemptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest. “Those children are no less valuable to Wyoming than those conceived otherwise,” Halverson said in January. Both bills now have those exemptions.

There is already one abortion ban in place — a “trigger bill” that went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — but abortion remains legal in Wyoming for now. An ongoing lawsuit challenging the ban’s constitutionality and an injunction have prevented it from taking effect.

The trial date for that case in the 9th District Court in Teton County is scheduled for December, and partially focuses on a line in the state constitution.

“Instead of being health care, abortion is the intentional termination of the life of an unborn baby. It is within the authority of the state of Wyoming to determine reasonable and necessary restrictions upon abortion, including its prohibition,” the bill states, pointing to language in the state constitution.

Legislators also approved a bill to prohibit dangerous chemical abortion drugs, making Wyoming the first state in the country to pass legislation prohibiting the prescription of the dangerous abortion drug regimen that can cause hemorrhaging, the need for surgery and even death.

The day prior, legislators passed a measure championed by Gov. Gordon to extend postpartum Medicaid coverage from two months to a full year. In testimony, a Governor’s Office policy advisor shared that as a pro-life leader, Gordon “believes that this is an avenue to ensure that we take care of women and infants” and that providing physical and mental health care will allow those who qualify to be “a better parent and ultimately make the infant safer.”

SBA Pro-Life America’s Western Regional Director Adam Schwend shared his reaction:

“The 2023 legislative session is ending on a clear note that Wyoming values all human life, born and unborn, and the wellbeing of women. SBA Pro-Life America applauds every lawmaker who played a role in advancing safeguards against dangerous chemical abortion drugs, extending medical coverage for moms to a year after childbirth and protecting unborn children of all ages. We applaud legislators for being champions for the most vulnerable among us and advocates for the health, safety and security of mothers. We look forward to Gov. Gordon swiftly signing these bills into law and establishing Wyoming as a shining example of building a culture of life in the Dobbs era.”

HB 0004 – Sponsored by the House Committee on Labor, Health and Social Services, the Wyoming Medicaid Extension bill extends Medicaid coverage for any woman who has been pregnant within the previous 12 months. It is funded with $3.8M appropriated state and federal funds.

HB 0152 – Sponsored by Rep. Rachel Rodriguez Williams, the Wyoming Life is a Human Right Act will protect unborn babies from fertilization, with exceptions for the life and health of the mother, or if the pregnancy is a result of rape and incest. It also includes a defunding provision that would prohibit any appropriated funds from being used for abortion.

SF 0109 – This measure sponsored by Sen. Tim Salazar would prohibit prescribing or distribution of any drug for the purpose of causing an abortion. It would not apply to contraceptives or treatment for miscarriage, and includes an exception for life and health of the mother as well as rape and incest.

Wyoming leaders currently are fighting in court to enforce the trigger law, which went into effect only briefly after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

In August, a judge blocked enforcement of the law, agreeing with pro-abortion groups that the abortion ban may cause irreparable harm to pregnant mothers and abortionists.

Wyoming is one of several states that are battling in court to legally protect unborn babies from abortion. Currently, 14 other states are enforcing pro-life laws that ban or strictly limit abortions, and researchers estimate tens of thousands of unborn babies’ lives are being saved.

In June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe in a historic victory for life and returned the power to legislate abortion to the people. Because of Dobbs v. Jackson, states may protect unborn babies from abortion for the first time in nearly 50 years.

All pro-life laws allow abortions when the mother’s life is at risk and, in some states, cases of rape and incest. These make up a very small percent of all abortions in the U.S. Research from the Charlotte Lozier Institute found about 96 percent of abortions are for purely elective reasons.

ACTION ALERT: Contact Governor Gordon and urge him to sign the bills.

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