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Access To Abortion May Become More Difficult In Mountain West


Legislatures across the region are considering heavy restrictions to abortion. Activity by opponents of abortion rights at the state level could be related to the recent shift at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wyoming's legislature is considering a 48-hour waiting period between a woman seeing her physician and having an abortion. Utah may pass a ban on abortions after 15 weeks, and Idaho is debating outlawing the procedure altogether.

Joshua Wilson is a political science professor at the University of Denver who specializes on this controversial issue.

"It's actually not at all in some ways surprising that there's state level activism going on trying to restrict abortion," he said.

Wilson explained that Donald Trump's 2016 Presidential victory along with Justice Brett Kavanaugh's appointment to the Supreme Court has renewed the belief that Roe V. Wade could be overturned.

"So there's a lot of pressure on conservative groups or conservative legislators at the state level to respond to that and move forward with further restrictions," he said.

The end game, according to Wilson: if state legislation is challenged in the courts, it could be decided by the now conservative majority U.S. Supreme Court.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Maggie Mullen is Wyoming Public Radio's regional reporter with the Mountain West News Bureau. Her work has aired on NPR, Marketplace, Science Friday, and Here and Now. She was awarded a 2019 regional Edward R. Murrow Award for her story on the Black 14.
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