Bill Making Meth Use By Pregnant Women A Felony Dies In Senate

State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, told the Senate he opposed the bill because he wanted to see more emphasis on treatment and was worried women would get abortions in prison.

Clair McFarland

March 08, 20223 min read

Bouchard legislature 3 7 22 scaled

By Clair McFarland, Cowboy State Daily 

A bill that would have made it a felony to consume meth while pregnant has died in the state Senate amid concerns that it could encourage abortions and flood drug treatment centers with expectant women.  

House Bill 85 would have added meth and illegal opioid use while pregnant to the state’s list of child endangerment felonies, which already prohibit exposing children to meth either by giving it to them or having it in their presence.

The bill failed to clear its first review by the full Senate, dying on a vote of 17-8.

Abortions in Prison? 

State Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, told the Senate he opposed the bill because he wanted to see more emphasis on treatment. He also said he worried the bill would deter women from getting prenatal care and may prompt them to get abortions.  

“If they go into prison they can get an abortion,” he said. “It’s been decided in the courts, and they can go right in and get that done.”  

In an email to Cowboy State Daily, Wyoming Department of Corrections director Dan Shannon said yes, abortions are available to DOC inmates, but he has never heard of one being performed.

“As abortions opportunities are a constitutional matter, the Department of Corrections must comply with the current law” by not refusing them, wrote Shannon. He added that a confined woman asking for an abortion “would be required to address all medical expenses, transport cost, and court approved removal from the facility.”  

“During my 15-year tenure with WDOC,” he wrote, “I am not aware of an inmate receiving an abortion.”  

Lack of Support 

Sens. Charles Scott, R-Casper and Cale Case, R-Lander, both echoed Bouchard’s concerns that pregnant women may avoid treatment and care over fear of a felony conviction.  

Case said he’d like to see a law welcoming women to state-funded support.  

“Hey, if you have a substance abuse problem and you’re pregnant, come see us right now; we have a program of amnesty; we have a program to get you medical attention,” Case described the ideal law as saying. “We can help you in this miracle that’s happening in your life, to deal with the evil of substance abuse. That’s the bill I want to see.”  

Sen. Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, called the bill’s plan of reliance on probation to keep a pregnant woman sober was “absurd” and said she’d like to see “a more thoughtful solution” crafted in the interim.   


Bill co-sponsor Sen. Fred Baldwin, R-Kemmerer, said he sponsored the bill as a “knee-jerk reaction,” but didn’t think the state’s mental health systems were ready to accommodate it its requirements.  

But fellow co-sponsor Sen. John Kolb, R-Rock Springs, countered, saying “Feeding the unborn methamphetamine probably isn’t the right idea.”  

He indicated that just the offer of treatment, which he called the “carrot” end of the solution, “does not work, so we need to come up with some new way of handling this.”  

Under Wyoming law meth consumption by anyone is a misdemeanor.

Share this article



Clair McFarland

Crime and Courts Reporter