Report: Wyoming’s 385% Spike In Abortions Since 2019 Is Highest In The Nation

A report by a pro-choice research organization shows that Wyoming has the highest percentage increase of abortions from 2019-2023 at 385%, something some pro-life legislators attribute to past underreporting of the procedure.

Leo Wolfson

June 14, 20245 min read

Pro-life supporters rally in June 2023 in Cody at a Wyoming Right to Life Rally on the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.
Pro-life supporters rally in June 2023 in Cody at a Wyoming Right to Life Rally on the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. (Via Facebook)

Although abortion has been an emotionally charged, high-profile political issue in Wyoming with multiple laws passed banning the practice since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Roe v. Wade decision in June 2022, abortions continue to happen in the Cowboy State.

In fact, new estimates from the Guttmacher Institute, a pro-choice research organization, show that Wyoming has the highest increase of abortions by percentage performed in the country from 2019-2023.

The report estimates that 420 abortions were done in Wyoming in 2023, including both surgical and medicated operations.

That’s a 385% spike from 2019, when about 109 were reported, the Guttmacher Institute reports. While the pro-choice group estimates are nearly 110, the Wyoming Department of Health reported only 31 abortions for 2019.

Compared to the WDH number, the 420 abortions the institute attributes to Wyoming last year would be a 1,355% increase.

The Wyoming Department of Health hasn’t yet released abortion numbers for 2023, but reports 200 were done in the state in 2022, of which 72 were for non-residents.

Past Underreporting?

It’s highly possible that the recent growth of abortions in Wyoming is tied to an underreporting of abortion data by the Wyoming Department of Health in years past, many pro-life legislators like state Reps. Chip Neiman, R-Hulett, and former Lincoln County state legislator Marti Halverson have said.

In 2019, Wyoming lawmakers passed new reporting requirements for abortion providers and the Department of Health, adding gestational age to the data doctors and the state needed to collect. They also imposed a new time limit, requiring physicians to report abortions within 110 days of the procedure or face investigation by the Wyoming Board of Medicine.

“The numbers increased substantially after the difference in reporting,” Neiman said. “Now look at what we’re dealing with.”

Neiman has said every abortion is “a tragedy” and does not consider the operation to be health care, although the Legislature can regulate health care decisions. Whether abortion is health care has been one of the leading debates over its legality in ongoing lawsuits in Wyoming. Abortion remains legal in Wyoming as that litigation continues.

And even the new numbers may fall short of the real tally.

Just The Pill, a telemedicine abortion provider that serves women in Wyoming, recorded more than 400 patients in Wyoming in 2022, according to the Casper Star-Tribune.

On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a case that would have sharply curtailed access to medication abortion, allowing the pills to remain available to patients traveling from states with bans.

State Rep. Karlee Provenza, D-Laramie, is pro-choice and considers the right to abortion a “life-saving health care.” She said the numbers show that abortions will still happen even when laws are passed banning it.

“Legislators in our state and in other states have gone too far in banning abortion and forcing themselves into women’s doctors’ offices and deeply personal decisions,” she said.

Provenza said people who oppose abortion should work with her to expand access to birth control and other reproductive health care in Wyoming “to reduce the issues that cause people to exercise their freedom to get an abortion.”

Neiman said he wants to bring legislation in 2025 further discouraging abortions in Wyoming. This spring, Gov. Mark Gordon vetoed a bill putting stricter regulation on Wyoming’s abortion clinics and requiring women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound at least 48 hours before getting the operation.

He also believes people need to do a better job avoiding unprotected sex.

“God forbid people take personal responsibility for their decisions,” he said.

Status In Wyoming

There are two active abortion clinics in Wyoming at this point, one each in Casper and Jackson. The Jackson facility temporarily shut down for a few months last winter before returning in February.

Over the last two years, state lawmakers have passed laws banning almost all abortions, including ones done through medications. But a group of abortion access advocates sued the state, and Teton County Judge Melissa Owens stopped the laws from going into effect.

One of those lawsuits recently made its way to the Wyoming Supreme Court, where it was then returned to Teton County. The Supreme Court judges declined to make a decision and sent the case back to Owens in April.

‘Breaks My Heart’

Seeing the increasing abortion numbers “breaks my heart,” Neiman said.

“It just breaks my heart, those little babies can’t fight for themselves,” he said. “Ultimately, what we’re talking about here is a little baby having an inability to have a voice to say ‘I want to live’ because they’re aborted.”

Neiman has been one of the most vocal voices in opposing abortion in Wyoming. He and other lawmakers attempted to intervene in the Wyoming lawsuits but were rejected by Owens.

Neiman said the delays in these cases have been tragic.

“It’s saddening when we’re talking about little human beings,” he said. “All the while we see the data that little people are dying in increased numbers. It’s tragic.”

Still Happening

One of the focus points of the Guttmacher study was to track how many people in the U.S. are traveling out of their home states to get abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 Dobbs decision, making abortion a decision for individual states.

According to the report, 18% of abortions performed in Wyoming in 2023 were on nonresidents, which ranks 13th highest in the country. Abortion is illegal in two states that border Wyoming — Idaho and South Dakota.

Provenza said she is grateful women can come to Wyoming from other places to get abortions, which she believes cuts down on the number of illegal abortions being performed, an operation that tends to carry more risk.

“The number of abortions has increased because we started with so few, but also because our neighbors in other states have banned access to this life-saving health care, forcing them into states that allow access,” Provenza said.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter