New Pro-Life Bills Signed into Law Draws Criticism from ACLU

New Pro-Life Bills Signed into Law Draws Criticism from ACLU

Snow covers the grounds of the Wyoming State Capitol. Photo by Michael Smith

CHEYENNE — After Governor Mark Gordon took further steps to implement a pro-life policy agenda when he signed a prohibition on chemical abortions, the ACLU responded with criticism of his actions.

Gordon also allowed House Bill 152 – Life is a Human Right Act to go into law. But he expressed concern that this new law will only result in a new lawsuit, which will delay any resolution to the constitutionality of the abortion ban in Wyoming. Earlier today, the plaintiffs in the current lawsuit filed a legal challenge of this new law in the event the Act was not vetoed.

The ACLU of Wyoming opposed Senate File 109, legislation that prohibits medication abortion, and House Bill 152, legislation that bans abortion care with limited exceptions and will take effect if last year’s abortion law is found unconstitutional.

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“A person’s health, not politics, should guide important medical decisions – including the decision to have an abortion,” Antonio Serrano, ACLU of Wyoming advocacy director said. “Abortion is safe, common and essential. Deeply private, personal and unique decisions about abortion should be made by pregnant people in consultation with their doctors – who should be able to treat their patients according to their best medical judgement.”

The Governor says that since the Legislature continues to make minor tweaks in the abortion law each year, it only leads to additional delays in obtaining a final decision from the courts about Wyoming’s Constitution. Governor Gordon stressed that if the Legislature wants finality it should put a constitutional amendment before the people and let them decide if they want to add an abortion ban to the state’s constitution. 

The Governor has a strong pro-life record, including signing Senate File 109 – Prohibiting Chemical AbortionSenate File 79–Plan of safe care-newborns, and last year’s House Enrolled Act No. 57 Abortion prohibition-supreme court decision, as well as House Bill 4 – Medicaid twelve-month postpartum coverage, which extends postpartum Medicaid coverage from 90 days to 12 months and is expected to help between 1,000 and 2,000 low-income Wyoming mothers.

“I understand the Legislature’s effort to improve Wyoming’s pro-life legal framework and preemptively clarify some of these legal questions with HEA 0088’s various legislative findings,” the Governor wrote. “However, I believe this question needs to be decided as soon as possible so that the issue of abortion in Wyoming can be finally resolved, and that is best done with a vote of the people.”

While he understands the intent of the legislative findings included in Life is a Human Right Act, the Governor said he does not feel these are a, “substitute for an expression of the people when it comes to constitutional matters.”

“Everyone deserves the right to control their own bodies and to make their own decisions about their lives and futures, free from punishment, judgment or political interference.  Gov. Gordon’s decisions regarding Senate File 109 and House Bill 152 are disappointing, but the fight for abortion rights in Wyoming isn’t over,” Serrano said. “We will continue to challenge efforts contrary to our right to make our own reproductive health care decisions.”

“If the Legislature wants to expressly address how the Wyoming Constitution treats abortion and defines healthcare, then those issues should be vetted through the amendment process laid out in Article 20 of the Wyoming Constitution and voted on directly by the people,” the Governor wrote.