By Jonathan Lange, columnist
Wyoming’s annual legislative scramble is underway.
Over 260 bills are clamoring to win an “Introduction” vote. Only those that cross this threshold by Friday night will have a chance to become law this year. Pro-life citizens will be pulling for at least one bill from each chamber.
House Bill 92 “Abortion prohibition-supreme court decision,” sponsored by Rachel Rodriguez-Williams (R-Cody), addresses the very real possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court may soon abandon its legally unsound, and constitutionally unfounded decision of Roe v. Wade. If the Court decides to return states’ rights, HB 92 would return Wyoming values to Wyoming’s Statutes.
Senate File 83 “Prohibiting chemical abortions” would protect Wyoming women from a corrupt FDA that is quietly stripping standard medical protections from women. This enables Big Pharma to make big money while exposing women to serious risks. SF 83 would stop these shoddy medical practices.
Of course, that’s not the way that pro-abortion lobbyists will portray it. You can expect to hear a litany of well-worn canards in opposition to these, and any other pro-life bills that may yet be filed before the deadline.
First, you will notice a refusal to grace the preborn with the status of “human being” or “person.” States that count people as people will always protect them from harm. To deny such protection in law requires, first, the denial of personhood in language. Often, the Latin word for child, “fetus,” is used as a sleight of hand to accomplish this dehumanization.
A second canard is to claim that advocates for the unborn care nothing for the children after they are born. This is refuted once you notice that the same people who advocate for the unborn are those who establish, fund, and operate a dozen pregnancy resource centers around the state. Centers, like those run by Rodriguez-Williams, provide a cornucopia of gifts to mothers and fathers who need physical, financial, and emotional support both before and after the birth of the child.
Churches often provide free diapers, formula, clothing, and other child-care necessities. My own denomination (the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod) recently launched a “Million Dollar Life Match” to help fund local congregations’ care for all children. The initiative is inspired by the biblical charge, “Little children, let us not love in word or talk, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18). Look for these services in your town.
Third, it is falsely claimed that Roe v. Wade protects the life of the mother. Since those who came of age after 1973 have little recollection of Wyoming Statute beforehand, this misinformation often goes unchallenged. The fact is that Wyoming’s abortion law always protected the lives of women.
For nearly eight decades before seven men in black robes nullified our state laws, Wyoming recognized that medical procedures to save the life of a pregnant woman were both appropriate and legal. Even if an unborn child died in the process, this was never forbidden by pre-Roe abortion laws.
Roe gave no additional protections to the life of mothers. Rather, the Court inserted the word “health,” and deliberately left it undefined. As any lawyer knows, undefined words are legal gold mines. To insert an undefined term into law is to insert a wild card that can be interpreted to mean anything and everything.
According to a January 2022 Marist Poll, 83 percent of Americans believe that there should be reasonable restrictions on abortion and 71 percent believe it should be restricted to the first trimester. Few realize that the Supreme Court’s undefined term acted like a wrecking ball to demolish any and every reasonable limit. As a result, America allows abortion up to the moment of birth. This aligns us among the six most unreasonable and barbaric nations in the world,
Fourth, abortion lobbyists often claim that the needs of women and the needs of their children are in conflict. They assume that granting rights to children takes rights from women. This is not true.
Pro-life efforts to support both the born and the unborn are informed by a deep understanding of the needs of women. Countless psychological studies tell us what our hearts already know: To support a mother’s desire to nurture her child is to support the mother herself.
The book, “Victims and Victors: speaking out about their pregnancies, abortions, and children resulting from sexual assault” (Reardon, Makimaa, and Sobie, 2000), thoroughly documents this fact. This study allows 200 women to speak for themselves. Their unfiltered words cut through artificially manufactured narratives and speak the truth with authenticity.
As citizens and legislators engage in lawmaking over the next several weeks, these four facts can help make sound policy decisions and contribute to a more civil society. Mahatma Gandhi had it right when he said, “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”