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Senate Moves Forward With Bill To Outlaw Chemically-Induced Abortions

Wyoming Legislature

The Wyoming Senate has advanced a bill that would outlaw the use of chemically-induced abortions. It would make the use of medication that is used to remove a fetus from the uterus, typically in the early stages of pregnancy, illegal.

That medication is also sometimes used in miscarriage situations.

"These drugs are used because the procedure, a surgical procedure, is not needed, is not desired," said Kemmerer Sen. Fred Baldwin, who is a physician assistant, when he was asked about the medication and how it works. "As you might imagine a medical treatment is much safer, much fewer complications, much cheaper than a surgical intervention when it can happen nearly every day,."

Baldwin added the medication, which is essentially used to "remove the products of conception from the uterus," is well-accepted by medical professionals and is cost-effective as well as safe.

Several lawmakers questioned how the bill would clearly separate the use of the medication for an abortion from a miscarriage. Lingle Sen. Cheri Steinmetz said she anticipates bringing forward an amendment to clarify that, as well as drop the punishment from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Jackson Sen. Mike Gierau said he's heard from medical professionals who are concerned about the situations they could be put in.

"What I have a problem with tonight is that when we start to parse this out with the use of chemicals that sometimes are used by right, well-thinking doctors to perform medical procedures that are necessary and vital to the health of their patients," he said.

He added he wished the legislature would spend more of its time and resources considering ways to prevent abortions, like sex education.

Ten Sleep Senator Ed Cooper said while he is against abortion, he worried this bill could cause abortions to be more dangerous than they are now with the use of the medication.

"If we don't have the chemical options, does that put us back to strictly mechanical withdrawal? Are we back to coathangers? Is that where we are going?" he said.

But Riverton Sen. Tim Salazar, the bill's sponsor, said the choice to bring the bill forward was a moral one.

"For me that was beyond what I could accept, it's something that I had to fight against, and it's up to every senator here if you feel the same way I do," he said.

The bill will be debated two more times.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu .

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.
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