Removal Of Casper Doc From Medical Board Stokes Freedom Caucus Outrage

News of a Casper doctor being forced from the Wyoming Board of Medicine because of his views on transgender treatments for minors has outraged the Freedom Caucus. But a former board member says the group’s anger is hypocritical.

Leo Wolfson

May 31, 20244 min read

Dr. Rene Hinkel testifies in 2023 to a legislative committee about the Life is a Human Right Act.
Dr. Rene Hinkel testifies in 2023 to a legislative committee about the Life is a Human Right Act. (Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

Some conservative circles in Wyoming were outraged this week in response to a Tuesday Cowboy State Daily story that reported on the forced resignation of a Casper radiologist from the Wyoming Board of Medicine.

Gov. Mark Gordon removed Dr. Eric Cubin from the board because Cubin sent an email lobbying state representatives to support a bill banning minors from receiving transgender care in Wyoming. Gordon argued Cubin went too far because he would have played a role in determining the future licenses of practitioners who broke the law if kept on the board.

Secretary of State Chuck Gray and the farther right Wyoming Freedom Caucus pointed out that Cheyenne OB/GYN Dr. Rene Hinkle sat on the Board of Medicine while she testified to legislative committees on numerous health care bills, including a number of instances where she expressed her pro-choice stance on abortion, yet was never removed from the board for that. The Freedom Caucus posted a video compilation of some of her testimony during this time.

“When Rene Hinkle was a member of the Board of Medicine, she would testify frequently at the Legislature about her anti-life positions,” Gray said on Facebook earlier this week. “And yet Gov. Gordon did nothing about her membership on the Board of Medicine.”

Hinkle told Cowboy State Daily that her role on the board was an entirely different situation as there were never any abortion-related decisions that came before her board.

“The reason this did not rise to the same level of concern as the current case is that the board did not have any authority to sanction/discipline a physician in any of the legislation that was passed,” she said. “There was not a conflict of interest until the lawsuit.”

When Hinkle joined a lawsuit challenging Wyoming’s new law banning most forms of abortion in 2022, she was told she had to resign from the board, advice she agreed and complied with.

“I understand that’s not feasible when I’m suing the state,” she said.

Not The Same?

The Freedom Caucus criticized Gordon for nominating Hinkle to the board, but that’s only partially true.

Hinkle, a Republican, was first nominated to the board by former Gov. Matt Mead after applying to be on it in 2016. Mead reappointed her one more time before Gordon re-nominated her in 2020.

“This is part of the problem with the Freedom Caucus folks is that they just react without actually knowing what the truth is, and they don’t care what the truth is as long as it sounds good to them,” Hinkle said.

State Sen. Cheri Steinmetz, R-Lingle, launched an effort to block Hinkle’s appointment on that second confirmation, which was voted down by the Senate. Steinmetz said she did this because of Hinkle’s public statements on abortion.

“As a Republican governor of a deep red state, appointments to boards and commissions should reflect Republican values, which unashamedly recognize the rights of every human to life, liberty and happiness,” Steinmetz said. “The hypocrisy is clear.”

Hinkle also testified against Steinmetz’s bill that requires life-saving treatment for aborted babies born alive, which eventually passed in 2021 after Gordon vetoed it the year before. Steinmetz described Hinkle’s actions as that of an “abortion activist.”

During her six years on the board, Hinkle testified on numerous bills in the Legislature, but never did so in her capacity as a board member. Hinkle said although Wyoming Board of Medicine Executive Director Kevin Bohnenblust did urge her to not testify on a few bills, she never received any grief from Mead or Gordon about it.

In fact, Hinkle said Gordon and his wife even privately solicited her perspective on Steinmetz’s bill.

One Exception

There was one bill Hinkle testified against that would have affected future Board of Medicine disciplinary licensure decisions, but it did not pass into law. Hinkle said if it did, Bohnenblust advised her that she would have had to recuse herself from all matters related to it on the board.

Cubin said he sent his email to try and counteract the messaging being put out by the Wyoming Medical Society, a group of which he’s a member that openly opposed the transgender legislation. He asserts that the vast majority of Wyoming’s medical community opposes transgender care being available to minors, a viewpoint Hinkle and the Medical Society disagree with.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter