Cody Legislator: Disability-Related Abortions Step Toward Eugenics

House Bill 161, sponsored by Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, was introduced earlier this month and was recommended that it do pass, 7-2, by the House's Labor Committee. It would ban abortions based on selective reasoning and disabilities.

Ellen Fike

March 23, 20213 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

A bill that would ban abortions conducted for “discriminatory” reasons is headed for its final review in the Wyoming House of Representatives.

House Bill 161, sponsored by Rep. John Romero-Martinez, R-Cheyenne, would ban abortions performed because the unborn child diagnosed with a disability or for the reasons of race, sex, color, national origin or ancestry.

In the bill, disabilities is defined as any disease, defect or disorder that is genetically inherited, including physical, mental and intellectual disabilities, physical disfigurement, scoliosis, dwarfism, down syndrome, albinism, amelia, meromelia or a physical or mental disease.

The bill passed through its second reading in the House on Tuesday, meaning it is likely to be up for a third reading later this week.

Rep. Cathy Connolly, D-Laramie, on Tuesday offered an amendment that would require the state to reimburse pregnant women who were forced into carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term.

The program Connolly suggested in her amendment would cover all medical costs associated with the pregnancy, birth and additional educations and therapies related to a child being born with disabilities.

Her amendment, which would also require genetic testing for pregnant women, was defeated as the bill itself was approved in its second reading.

“I am confused about this bill and how it could honestly be implemented,” Connolly said during the House floor debate. “What this amendment does, it clarifies that we as a state…do not want the results of genetic testing to be used for abortion, but if a woman is obligated to carry a pregnancy to term, that we will take care of that child. That is our obligation.”

Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, a co-sponsor of the bill, spoke in opposition to the amendment, saying it didn’t align with the bill’s intention.

“The reality is that sex-selection abortions are occurring in the United States,” she said. “Recent studies have showed that more than 90% of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Clearly, this is the chilling side to eugenics and it must be confronted there.”

Rep. Sue Wilson, R-Cheyenne, also spoke in opposition of the amendment.

“We’re not mandating that the woman has to take care of the child for the rest of its life, if she feels unable to care for the child after it is born,” she said. “We do have an existing program [like this that] Medicaid pays for.”

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Ellen Fike