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Politics & Government

Senate defeats bill that would have prosecuted pregnant women who use certain drugs

Wyoming Legislature Senate chambers
Bob Beck
/
Wyoming Public Media

The Wyoming Senate soundly defeated a controversial bill that would criminalize the use of methamphetamine and some narcotics while pregnant.

During debate on the Senate floor, Cheyenne Sen. Anthony Bouchard said lots of research shows that punitive attempts like this don’t work.

“If we make them felons, if we even hint at making them felons, it’s just going to cause more harm. A lot of these women have other children. If we start separating families we start causing a lot of problems here,” said Bouchard.

Bouchard said the solution is for the state to invest more money on treatment programs.

Lander Sen. Cale Case added that the legislature should consider different legislation that helps pregnant women.

“If you have a substance abuse problem and you’re pregnant come see us right now. We have a program of amnesty, we have a program of medical attention, we can help,” said Case. “We can help you with this miracle that’s happening in your life to deal with the evil of substance abuse. That’s the bill I want to see.”

Kemmerer Sen. Fred Baldwin was an original co-sponsor but said the bill is not ready for prime time and the issue needs to be studied further.

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