48-hour abortion waiting period bill expires in Senate

The 2019 Wyoming legislative session saw the introduction of a bill that, if made law, would’ve imposed a 48-hour waiting period before an abortion can be performed in the state.

As of Feb. 17, the bill was introduced into the Senate and referred to the Labor Committee. It hasn’t been addressed by the Senate since Feb. 4, when this action took place.

Though not directly reflected in the bill digest, Rep. Sara Burlingame, D-Laramie, said that the bill has died in the Senate.  

“I am feeling optimistic that the Senate recognizes that it’s not good bill,” Burlingame said.

When asked what she thought about the prospects of the bill, Burlingame said that it doesn’t look good and she’s OK with that because she was not a supporter of the bill

One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Richard Tass, R-Sheridan, echoed what Burlingame said about the status of the bill.  

“We tried on this one, we’ll see what happens (in) another year,” Tass said.

When asked if the bill will be tabled until the next legislative session, Tass said that there’s nothing else that can be done due to the bill dying during this session.

Burlingame said that she was really surprised that a Greek Orthodox priest reached out to her saying that they disagreed on which direction the bill should go but that he appreciated her commitment to civility and hearing all sides.

“We had some really great community conversation around this bill … going forward, I hope for more of that; an opportunity to listen to each other.” Burlingame said.

Burlingame said that the right to choose needs to stay with the women of the state.

“I believe that the women of Wyoming are really smart and when you let us make our own reproductive health choices, with our partners, with our physicians, we make really good choices for ourselves and for our families and that’s where it needs to stay,” Burlingame said.

Two other bills regarding abortions were also introduced during the legislative session, House Bill 103 and House Bill 302. House Bill 103 would’ve required additional information such as race, ethnicity and marital status be recorded and reported to the state’s vital records office when an abortion is performed in Wyoming. House Bill 302 would’ve punished physicians that fail to inform a woman requesting an abortion that she has the option to see an ultrasound or hear the fetal heartbeat, the punishment being either a $750 fine or 6 months in prison or both.

As of Feb. 21, House Bill 103 was placed on the Senate general file. It hasn’t been addressed by the Senate since Feb. 20, when this action took place. House Bill 302 wasn’t considered for introduction in the Senate on Feb. 4.


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