abortion

The Supreme Court ruled today that so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” do not have to make it clear to clients that they are not licensed medical facilities.

Protests and blockades of clinics that perform abortions are up dramatically around the nation, including Colorado, the first state in the union to pass a law legalizing abortion more than fifty years ago.  

Earlier this month, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed a bill that requires doctors to offer ultrasounds to patients seeking abortions, but that law may only apply to one provider in the state.

Dr. Brent Blue of Jackson said he is Wyoming’s only doctor who publicly admits to providing abortions. But he has heard of other doctors in the region who have provided their regular patients with abortions that used medications to end a pregnancy, instead of surgical procedures.

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After hours of testimony Thursday, two bills concerning abortion passed a Senate Committee.

House Bill 116 would make selling fetal tissue a felony. House Bill 182 would require doctors to tell women that they can see an ultrasound before having an abortion.

People on both sides of the issue came out to show their disapproval and support of the bills.

Mary Bowd is retired nurse from Cheyenne. She said letting women know they could see an ultrasound would be consistent with standard medical practice.

Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming House of Representatives gave initial approval to bills that touched on the topic of abortions. House Bill 182 requires physicians to tell a woman that they can see an ultra-sound and hear the unborn child’s heartbeat and provide other information.   

Laramie Representative Charles Pelkey said the bill goes too far.

A Wyoming House committee has voted to defeat a bill that would have made it felony for an abortion to be performed after an embryo or fetus has a heartbeat.  

Representative Sue Wallis of Recluse testified that she’s had an abortion and it is nobody’s business but hers.

"Thank God this travesty of state-sponsored intrusion into my difficult decision at that time was not in place," Wallis said. "And I pray that it’s not foisted on my daughters or granddaughters."

But Representative Mark Baker of Rock Springs says that’s what the legislature is supposed to do.

The Wyoming Legislature will take on just about every possible hot-button social issue this week, hearing bills on guns, abortion and same-sex marriage.

House Speaker Tom Lubnau, a Republican from Gillette, says he's scheduled all the contentious social issue bills for hearings this week to save money on security.

Lubnau says the Legislature always increases its security when lawmakers consider gun and abortion issues because of the large crowds that typically turn out.

Wyoming lawmakers are facing bills this session that would restrict access to abortion services.

Meanwhile, a group is capitalizing on the legal victory it won against the state last year that allows it to display an anti-abortion poster in a tunnel leading to the state Capitol.

The anti-abortion bills aren't set for a hearing until late in January. Abortion rights groups say they're gearing up for a fight and similar bills have been defeated in recent legislative sessions.

Jackson's Town Council is working on new rules to clarify the permitting process for allowing special events on the Town Square.  

Town attorney Audrey Cohen-Davis says the new rules were in the works before a pro-life ministry group proposed putting up a controversial anti-abortion display on the Town Square. The town stopped the group from showing graphic images of fetuses during a Boy Scout Expo on the Town Square, a move which the Wyoming Supreme Court said violated the group’s First Amendment rights.  

Jackson Town Councilors voted Monday to allow a ten-by-eighty-foot display, which could include graphic images of fetuses, on the Town Square. Texas-based Operation Save America would be allowed to put up the anti-abortion display for four days in May. But the council denied the group's request to set it up on a Saturday during the Boy Scouts annual elk antler auction.

Councilors said the content was not the problem, but that the display would compete for space with the Boy Scouts' event.

 The State of Wyoming has settled a federal
lawsuit filed by an anti-abortion group.
     Under the settlement, the state admitted that state officials
violated the constitutional rights of WyWatch Family Action by
removing a display of materials it posted in a tunnel leading to
the state Capitol last year.
     U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal approved the settlement
and dismissed the lawsuit on Thursday.
     Under the settlement, the state admits that it
unconstitutionally prevented WyWatch from engaging in protected