Governor emphasizes Pro-Life position with new laws/ACLU responds

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March 18, 2023 — Press Release from Governor Mark Gordon’s Office

Governor Mark Gordon took further steps to implement a pro-life policy agenda when he signed a prohibition on chemical abortions Friday. At the same time, he 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 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 Abortion, Senate 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.”

“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. 

The Governor’s letter is attached and may be viewed here

In his final actions on bills passed during the 2023 General Legislative session, Governor Gordon exercised his line-item veto authority on the following bills. The letters with line items, along with a list of all bills the Governor has taken action on during the 2023 Legislative Session, can be found on the Governor’s website.

ACLU of Wyoming Response – Press Release

Tonight (Friday night), Gov. Mark Gordon signed into law one bill to ban medication abortion and indicated he will let another near-complete ban become law without his signature. 

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.

The following statement can be attributed to Antonio Serrano, ACLU of Wyoming advocacy director:

“A person’s health, not politics, should guide important medical decisions – including the decision to have an abortion.

“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 judgment. What is right for one family may not be right for another.

“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. We will continue to challenge efforts contrary to our right to make our own reproductive health care decisions.”