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Gov. Gordon vetoes bill that would have closed Wyoming clinic providing procedural abortions

Jay Jerde, special assistant attorney general for the state, addresses 9th Judicial District Court Judge Melissa Owens during a summary judgment hearing Thursday in Teton County District Court. Following nearly four hours of arguments, Owens did not make a ruling from the bench, leaving the fate of abortion access in Wyoming undecided.
KATHRYN ZIESIG
/
KHOL
Jay Jerde, special assistant attorney general for the state, addresses 9th Judicial District Court Judge Melissa Owens during a summary judgment hearing Thursday in Teton County District Court. Following nearly four hours of arguments, Owens did not make a ruling from the bench, leaving the fate of abortion access in Wyoming undecided.

This week, Gov. Mark Gordon vetoed a bill that would have placed regulations on clinics that provide procedural abortions.

House Bill 148 would have required clinics that provide abortions in Wyoming to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers.

Gordon’s veto means Wyoming’s only clinic that provides procedural abortions in the state will be able to stay open, for now.

The bill sponsor Rep. Martha Lawley (R-Worland) said the measure was meant to keep women safe when receiving abortions in the state.

“We have a duty to regulate abortion for the health and safety of women in Wyoming who would choose an abortion,” said Lawley.

Opponents believed this bill – similar to new laws in other states – would create onerous standards that would shut down clinics like the one in Casper.

Lynn Paltrow is an attorney and the founder of the group Pregnancy Justice.

“It has everything to do with promoting medical misinformation,” said Paltrow. “And that misinformation being that this is a dangerous procedure that can't be done safely in a clinic. We have 50 years of evidence that it can be.”

Wyoming has also passed a law banning abortions in most cases - but that’s held up by a court challenge. This week, a Teton County district judge referred the state’s abortion ban lawsuit to the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Gordon said House Bill 148 would have complicated that process, potentially delaying the court’s decisions.

This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, supporting state government coverage in the state. Wyoming Public Media and Jackson Hole Community Radio are partnering to cover state issues both on air and online.

Chris Clements is a state government reporter and digital media specialist for Wyoming Public Media based in Laramie. He came to WPM from KSJD Radio in Cortez, Colorado, where he reported on Indigenous affairs, drought, and local politics in the Four Corners region. Before that, he graduated with a degree in English (Creative Writing) from Arizona State University. Chris's news stories have been featured on KUNC, NPR newscasts, and National Native News, among others.

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