By Jennifer Kocher, Cowboy State Daily
A bill that would ban abortions in Wyoming should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn its landmark abortion ruling Roe vs. Wade has been signed into law by Governor Mark Gordon.
House Bill 92, introduced by Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R–Cody and signed into law Tuesday, will make abortions illegal in the state except in cases where the mother faces serious risks of death or irreversible physical impairments or in the case of rape or incest.
This so-called “trigger” law will become legal should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn landmark legislation of Roe vs. Wade that made abortion legal across the country, taking away the ability of individual states to ban abortions.
In a floor statement two-hours before the session ended on Friday evening, Rep. Landon Brown, R-Cheyenne, told his colleagues that he was frustrated lawmakers were focused on abortion rather than the ones they should have been working on, mentioning the budget and redistricting.
“We would have had more time instead of the last day, than the two hours we have left,” he said regarding the bill that redrafted Wyoming’s legislative district borders to conform with new census results. “But, instead, we were busy debating guns. We were busy debating abortion, we were busy debating non-issues in this state instead of our constitutional obligations.”
Brown said the bill’s sponsor (Rodriguez-Williams) told him that he should apologize to the House for his remarks to which he responded that she could “want an apology all you want, but you’re not going to get it.”
Wyoming was one of 26 states predicted to take action in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision, according to analysis by the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion rights research group.
These states have a variety of laws in place, from banning abortion entirely to exemptions or limitations past the first trimester among others, should Roe vs. Wade be overturned.
A handful of abortion rights bill are awaiting rulings in the U.S. Supreme, including Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This case challenges the constitutionality of a 2018 Mississippi state law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Oral arguments were heard by the court in December with a ruling expected at some point this year.
The ACLU of Wyoming criticized the new law, saying it “improperly assigns the executive branch the responsibility of enacting law based upon future hypothetical case outcomes and creates a codified, inflexible mandate that lacks clarity.”
The group said it plans to continue challenging the state’s efforts to take reproductive health care decisions out of the hands of citizens.