Potential Roe V. Wade Reversal Generates Diverse Wyoming Opinions

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Members of Wyoming groups opposed to and in supportive of abortion rights were divided Tuesday over news a draft ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court seemed to show the court was preparing to overturn the landmark abortion rights ruling Roe v. Wade.

“We’re thrilled that this decision would return the authority to regulate abortion in the state,” said Marti Halverson, president of Right to Life of Wyoming.

“We’ve all had it in the back of our minds that this could be a possibility, but I don’t think I or anyone of my ilk really wanted to believe a complete overturn was possible or probable,” Sharon Breitweiser, executive director of Pro-Choice Wyoming, told Cowboy State Daily.

A U.S. Supreme Court majority opinion draft leaked to Politico on Monday purported to show that a majority of the court’s justices have voted to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion ruling that made abortions legal nationally in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Abortions remain legal across the country because the Supreme Court has not issued its final ruling on the case that spawned the court’s review of Roe v. Wade.

Halverson said her organization is “thrilled” at the aspect of the reversal of Roe v. Wade, although she expressed concern that for the first time in the Supreme Court’s history, one of its draft opinions had been leaked.

“I am devastated that there would be a leak out of the U.S. Supreme Court and I think (Chief) Justice (John) Roberts is right to order an investigation, period,” she said.

The Wyoming Legislature this year passed a trigger abortion ban – a law that would ban abortion in Wyoming five days after an official Supreme Court repeal of Roe V. Wade.  

Halverson said Right to Life was also excited about the trigger bill going into effect, adding that the group expected Gov. Mark Gordon to “do his duty and enforce the provisions” of the bill.

While Breitweiser said she took comfort in the knowledge that the opinion likely wouldn’t move forward for several weeks or even months, she also was coming to terms with the likelihood that the opinion would be issued and authority over whether abortions would remain legal would go to the states.

“While Wyoming was never some ideal haven for abortions, we’ve gone from this supposedly proud legacy of valuing women’s equality and freedom from government interference and a ‘live and let live’ attitude to being one of the 13 worst states in the U.S. that will absolutely outlaw abortion” she said. “It’s troubling to me.”

Wyoming Equality executive director Sara Burlingame shared a similar attitude on Tuesday with Cowboy State Daily.

“I never feel more like a Wyoming woman than when I’m protecting my bodily autonomy from the United States’ government,” she said. “I do not see that the U.S. government has the right to tell me when and how to bear children. Most women that I know in Wyoming feel the same.”

Adrienne Mansanares, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rockies, said on Tuesday that the Supreme Court had failed the nation with the draft opinion.

“We’ve long known that the current makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court is hostile to reproductive rights. While this opinion is only a draft, it’s clear our fears were justified,” she said. “If the decision comes down as drafted, this outcome is as dangerous as it is unprecedented, and will open the floodgates for states across the country to ban abortion. 

“As we navigate the implications of this devastating draft, we want to be clear: We’re not going anywhere. Our doors are open, abortion care is legal, and we’re here for our patients today and every day,” she continued.

The Diocese of Cheyenne declined to comment for this article.

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