A stricter abortion ban is moving through the legislature
Update 2/7/23: The Wyoming House of Representatives passed HB152 in its second reading.
The Wyoming House of Representatives passed a first reading of a bill that would create an even stricter abortion ban, however, some pro-life lawmakers feared its constitutionality.
Last year, the Wyoming Legislature passed a trigger abortion ban that went into effect when Roe vs. Wade was overturned in June. The ban makes abortion illegal and makes exceptions for cases of incest or rape. It is currently being challenged in courts and while that is happening abortion is still legal in Wyoming.
But this year’s legislature is considering a bill that would repeal the trigger ban and put in place a law with even more restrictions. If passed, abortion would not be allowed in the case of incest or rape and it would allow attorneys to sue providers who perform abortions.
The current trigger ban was challenged by healthcare providers who provide abortion and abortion advocates. The plaintiffs argue the ban is constitutionally vague. Plus, they say the state’s constitution protects Wyomingites' right to make health care decisions.
So, lawmakers supporting HB152 hope it could clear up any confusion in the courts. Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams (R-Cody) spoke in favor of the bill at the end of a lengthy debate on the house floor.
“The 14th Amendment uses the word person. Pre-born children are members of the human species. They are legal and they are constitutional persons,” said Rodgrigues-Williams.
But some of the lawmakers who made a point that they are pro-life and voted for the trigger ban said this bill will inhibit Wyoming’s effort to make abortion illegal in the state. They said if the bill became law it would immediately repeal the current trigger ban and put this one in place, which they believe would be promptly challenged.
Rep. Barry Crago (R-Buffalo) said the way the bill is written is unconstitutional.
“It isn't going to prevent us from going to the Supreme Court. I think everyone knows that. Everyone agrees with that,” said Crago. “So the question is why not get it there quicker and why not get it there with the law that gives us the best chance to win?”
Some fear the current bill going through the legislature would not win in courts and then the only way to ban abortion in Wyoming would be to create a constitutional amendment.