Gov. Mark Gordon’s decision to let three controversial bills pass into law Friday has drawn national attention from as high up as U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.
Harris went to Twitter on Saturday to comment on Gordon’s decision to sign a ban on chemical abortion drugs into law, making Wyoming the first state to explicitly ban pills for abortions. Pills, also called chemical abortion, accounts for nearly all Wyoming abortions in 2021 and most in the two previous years.
In her critique, Harris refers to Gordon and members of the Wyoming Legislature who supported the “extreme legislation” as “so-called leaders.”
“This is another attack on safe and effective medication that the FDA approved 20 years ago. It will put women’s health and lives at risk,” she tweeted.
The medication Harris refers to is the chemical abortion pill mifepristone, approved by the FDA in 2000. A preliminary ruling is expected soon by a Texas judge that could order the FDA to withdraw its approval of the drug.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also weighed in, but expanded her criticism to also include House Bill 152, the Life Is A Human Right Act.
This bill is a more-specific version of a 2022 trigger ban that nixed nearly all abortions in Wyoming after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade last June.
Jean-Pierre described this bill and the chemical abortion legislation as “criminal abortion bans.”
“This is yet another assault on safe and effective medication the FDA approved over 20 years ago, and will put women’s health and lives at risk,” the press secretary tweeted.
State Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Cody, who sponsored HB 152, commented on both posts.
To the vice president, she made fun of her name, referring to her as “Que Mala,” before asking if she knows that “medication is supposed to heal, not kill innocent human beings.”
To Jean-Pierre, Rodriguez-Williams responded with, “Assault on medication?” followed by a crying with laughter emoji.
“Oh the irony of your tweet. Wyoming is a pro-life state,” Rodriguez-Williams continued. “One of the new laws affirms that life is a human right for preborn children.”
Pill’s Inventor In On The Criticism
Even the French inventor of the chemical abortion pill, Etienne-Emile Baulieu weighed in on Wyoming’s chemical abortion ban.
“It is a setback for women’s freedom, particularly for those in the most precarious position who do not have the means to go to another state” to get an abortion, he told the Agence France-Presse in an interview.
Wyoming Democrats Also Criticize
The Wyoming Democratic Party also has been vocal and critical of Gordon’s decisions.
On Monday, it accused the governor of lacking courage, referring to two bills he let pass into law without his signature, HB 152 and Senate File 133, legislation that prevents biological males from competing in girls’ sports in Wyoming. The legislation is targeted at transgender athletes.
A graphic is included in the post of a human spine with, “Hey Governor Gordon, We Found This!” written above it.
“Rather than vetoing unconstitutional legislation that will immediately be challenged in court, Gov. Gordon takes the cowardly way out & allows it to become law w/o his signature. Shameful,” the party tweeted with the post.
Wyoming Democrats also put out a separate message against his decision on the two abortion bills, saying he lacks leadership.
“We are disgusted by Governor Gordon’s decision to stand with the zealots in our legislature to ensure that women in Wyoming now have less freedoms than in any other state in the nation,” the Democrats said.
Invites ‘Fury’ Of ‘Hell’
Laramie Democratic Rep. Karlee Provenza, who opposed all three bills, made a graphic of a snake shaped like a woman’s ovaries and fallopian tubes based on the “Don’t Tread On Me” serpent.
“This session has attacked my right to life & how choosing a family in Wyoming means an increased chance of dying,” Provenza tweeted. “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
The passage of the three bills received national media attention, including coverage from some of the largest outlets in the U.S. like The New York Times and National Public Radio.
A number of conservative-leaning media outlets and organizations offered supportive coverage for the passages as well.
The Wyoming Freedom Caucus also expressed public appreciation for Gordon passing the bills, despite some of its members criticizing him for taking as long as he did to consider the legislation. Gordon used 14 of the 15 days he had available to study the bills before taking action on them.
In a Sunday press release, the Freedom Caucus celebrated the bills passing, despite the governor not signing two of them.
“In signing SF0109 and in allowing HB0152 to take effect without his signature, Gov. Gordon has completed a crucial step toward making WY a sanctuary for life,” the Freedom Caucus said in a Friday post on Twitter.
Caucus chairman Rep. John Bear, R-Gillette, previously told Cowboy State Daily that Gordon’s decision to sign bills, or not, is a political statement. After Gordon let the three bills pass into law, he took a more positive tune.
There were a number of Wyoming constituents who berated Gordon on social media for not singing the two bills.
Arthur Schaper, a California activist who has been involved in library book issues in Campbell County, called the governor “a weakling” and “Liz Cheney in a suit.”