© 2024 Wyoming Public Media
800-729-5897 | 307-766-4240
Wyoming Public Media is a service of the University of Wyoming
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Transmission & Streaming Disruptions

Two bills restricting abortion move forward in legislature after two weeks of no action

The Flossmoor Health Center opened in 2018. A procedure room where abortions and other reproductive health care are performed. The standard medical equipment includes an ultra sound machine and various monitors.
Cheryl Corley/NPR
The Flossmoor Health Center opened in 2018. A procedure room where abortions and other reproductive health care are performed. The standard medical equipment includes an ultra sound machine and various monitors.

Updated 2/28/23: Both bills passed their first reading in their respective houses on Mon., Feb. 27 with some amendments. Second readings are scheduled for Tues. Feb. 28.

Two bills related to limiting access to abortion were introduced to their second house of chambers committees and passed on Thursday, Feb. 23, just one day short of the deadline to come out of its second house committee. Although both passed with recommended amendments.

“Life is a Human Right”

House Bill 152, also known as Life is a Human Right, was sponsored by Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams (R-Cody). During debate in the House, many representatives expressed worry that the bill, which would restrict abortion even more than the current law that is being challenged in courts, would be seen as unconstitutional by Wyoming’s courts.

So in response during its last reading in the house, representativespassed an amendment that would make HB 152 a trigger ban to the current abortion ban that is being challenged. Basically meaning if the courts found the current abortion ban unconstitutional this bill would become law five days after that decision. It passed the house easily with that amendment in place.

That was two weeks ago. The deadline for bills to be reported out of committee in their second house was today, Feb. 24.

Last week, the Casper Star Tribune reported that Senate President Ogden Driskill was still deciding whether to introduce the bill to the Senate or not. He told the Tribune that he was concerned about the bill’s legality. However, the sponsor and co-sponsor approached him and convinced him to assign the bill to a committee. As Senate president, this is his job.

The bill was referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee on Thursday, Feb. 23. Senate committee members ultimately voted to remove the amendment.

However, they did add an amendment that would allow abortion in cases of rape and incest. They also reworked the bill so that lawmakers can more easily be appointed as interveners in future court cases that challenge the bill. With those recommended amendments, the bill passed the committee. It was scheduled to be heard in the general file on Friday but was laid back.

“Prohibiting chemical abortions” 

The second bill which prohibits chemical abortions also was amended.

Senate File 109does not differ from the same one that was defeated at last year's legislative session. It targets four drugs that are used to induce an abortion in the first trimester.

Anyone who sold, prescribed, or administrated one of the drugs (mifepristone, misoprostol, mifeprex and mifegyne) for this purpose would be criminally prosecuted. It does provide exemptions for miscarriage, endangerment to the woman's life or pregnancy as a result of sexual assault.

It passed the senate pretty easily although the committee meeting had many testify for and against the bill.During that testimony, a WWAMI graduate, currently in her residency, said if passed, she would reconsider returning to practice in the state. Wyoming Public Media later interviewedtwo other WWAMI doctors who had taken jobs elsewhere rather than returning to the state. They all cited the criminalization of doctors in these bills. This is contributing to a health care provider shortage in the state, which WWAMI is supposed to help solve.

This bill also waited a while before it was assigned a committee in its second house. It went to the House Revenue Committee on Thursday, Feb. 23, where OBGYNs testified that misoprostol does not specifically induce abortions and is used often in women’s reproductive health. Others also testified that the potential criminalization of any person who sold, prescribed or administered one of the drugs, could and is already causing pharmacists to not prescribe these medications.

In response, representatives tried to reword the bill to limit criminalization only to healthcare providers. They also removed one specific drug, misoprostol, from the list of drugs specified in the bill. The bill passed easily with these recommended amendments. It has been placed on the House’s general file.

Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
Related Content