Bill That Protects "Unborn Children" Gets A Hearing

Jan 31, 2019

Senator Lynn Hutchings presents her legislation to the Judiciary Committee.
Credit Bob Beck / Wyoming Public Radio

A number of people packed a large legislative committee room testifying on a bill that would create criminal offenses, including murder, for the harm of what the bill calls an unborn child. Senate File 128 is the Unborn Victims of Violence act.

Cheyenne Senator Lynn Hutchings said it's an effort to protect pregnant women who she said are frequent victims of domestic violence. A number of people testified in support of the bill saying that the unborn need to be protected.

But many also testified that the bill goes too far. Hutchings testified that it is "not an anti-abortion bill." Katie Holmes of Wilson said the bill is troublesome.

"This bill would establish fetal personhood in Wyoming by defining an unborn child a person at the moment of conception. It would endow fertilized eggs, fetuses and embryos unprecedented legal status in our state. For a state that has long prided itself on small government, this bill seems incredibly interested in a massive overreach into my life as a Wyoming woman."

Others testified that it was attempting to place unproven religious beliefs into Wyoming law.

Similar bills are being considered across the country. The Senate Judiciary Committee has delayed a vote on the measure until Friday, which is the deadline for bills to be voted out of committee.