A Wyoming Senate committee advanced legislation Monday to protect unborn babies by banning abortions once Roe v. Wade is overturned.
KGAB News reports the state Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee voted unanimously to move the bill forward in the Senate. The bill passed the House by a strong majority March 1.
Sometimes referred to as a trigger ban, House Bill 92, sponsored by state Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams, R-Park County, would ban abortions in Wyoming as soon as the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk.
Currently, because of Roe, states are forced to legalize abortions up to viability. However, the Supreme Court is considering a Mississippi case that challenges that precedent, and a ruling is expected this summer.
“If we want to live and let live, you let the life in the womb continue,” state Rep. John Romero-Martinez, R-Laramie County, told the committee before the vote. “This is a forward-thinking bill.”
Prior to the vote, lawmakers listened to testimony from several pro-life and pro-abortion activists, including a Unitarian Universalist minister from Lusk who criticized the senators for pushing their religious beliefs on women.
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“God does not judge or shame the woman who makes this choice for whatever reason,” the Rev. Leslie Kee said. “… Laws like HB92 are the epitome of human hubris because no human has the right to come between any woman and her god.”
Other abortion supporters criticized lawmakers for not including exceptions for rape and incest. But Rebecca Kiessling, an attorney and pro-life advocate with Save the One, said unborn babies conceived in rape deserve to be protected, too.
Kiessling told lawmakers that she was conceived in rape, and a pre-Roe abortion ban in Michigan saved her life. Had that law not been in place, she said her mother would have aborted her.
“I am a person. I always have been a person,” she told the committee. “When you deny equal protection, you’re violating the 14th Amendment and you’re saying to someone like me, ‘I think your mother should have been able to abort you.’”
Kathy Russell, a biologist from Cheyenne, also asked lawmakers to pass the bill and protect life in the womb.
“I find this really odd that we are treating a baby like a tumor, this is not a tumor,” Russell said. “It is a life. It has a heartbeat. There are cells going back and forth between the mother and the baby that stay throughout the mother’s life, that is why there is a bond between a mother and a child.”
The legislation would save nearly 100 unborn babies every year. Wyoming reported 91 abortions in 2020, according to the Charlotte Lozier Institute.
If it passes, Wyoming would join at least 12 other states with trigger laws that immediately would ban abortions once Roe is overturned, according to the Casper Star Tribune.
Across the country, state lawmakers are introducing legislation to protect unborn babies from abortion in the hopes that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe. Florida just passed a 15-week abortion ban that would save thousands of unborn babies from abortion every year. West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Arizona and other states also are advancing pro-life legislation this spring.
Pro-life advocates also are working to expand support services for pregnant and parenting moms in anticipation that Roe may be overturned as soon as June.
Researchers estimated that abortion numbers would drop by about 120,000 in the first year and potentially even more in subsequent years if the high court allows states to ban abortions again. Since Roe in 1973, more than 63.5 million unborn babies have been killed in abortions.