Bill Making Abortions Illegal Passed Second Reading, No Exemption For Rape Or Incest

in News/Legislature

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By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily

A bill that would ban abortions in Wyoming if the landmark abortion ruling in Roe vs. Wade is overturned moved closer to final House approval Monday without an amendment proposing exemptions for victims of rape or incest.

House Bill 92, which was approved in its second House reading Monday, would automatically ban abortions in Wyoming should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. Only women facing imminent peril from complications of birth would be exempted from the law.

Rep. Mike Yin, D-Jackson, proposed the unsuccessful amendment to the bill that would have provided the exemption for women who become pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

Yin questioned whether representatives were comfortable stepping in to make such decisions for women in those circumstances.

“The question before you is whether you want to force a woman who had by no choice of their own been impregnated, whether you want as the state to force them to bring that baby to term?” Yin said.

Rep. Andi LeBeau, D-Ethete, also spoke in favor of the amendment, saying she opposed the bill itself.

“I have trouble with this bill, and I know it’s probably going to move forward,” she said. “But I stand on this amendment to try to make it better.”

Both rape and incest are felony offenses, LeBeau argued, and should be considered as such in the bill.

“If we’re going to have the government in the room with the doctor and the patient, I think this is a solution to help with this problem and make it better,” she said.

But the sponsor of the bill itself, Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, disagreed, noting her pro-life stance did not allow for such exemptions.

“The reality is that two wrongs don’t make a right,” she said. “Abortion is not healthcare. Abortion is murder.”

Rep. Art Washut, R – Casper, asked how proof would be provided that a pregnancy was the result of rape or incest.

Yin said the decision would be based on the outcome of legal investigations, noting that both rape and incest are crimes.

The amendment failed by a 34-24 decision.

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