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Wyoming gov. signs trans medical care ban for minors, vetoes abortion bill

By 37ci3 Mar23,2024



CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Wyoming’s governor on Friday vetoed a bill that would have created significant barriers to abortion if it had remained legal in the state and signed into law a law banning sex-affirming care for minors.

An abortion bill vetoed by Republican Gov. Mark Gordon would have required facilities that provide surgical abortions to be licensed as ambulatory surgery centers, increasing their costs and the burden they face during surgery.

Women were required to have an ultrasound scan at least 48 hours before either surgical or pill abortion to determine the gestational age, location, and viability of the pregnancy.

Abortion in Wyoming is legal pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging new laws to ban the procedure. The bill targeted the state’s only full-service abortion clinic, Wellspring Health Access. Casper facility It was opened in 2023 — almost a year later than planned, then burned badly arson attack by a woman opposed abortion.

In announcing the veto, Gordon said the measure would “properly regulate” the clinics. But he said the amendments added by lawmakers leave him vulnerable to legal trouble.

“The state is closer than ever to a decision on the constitutionality of abortion in Wyoming,” Gordon said, adding that the bill “has the potential to further delay resolution of this critical issue for the unborn child.”

Most abortions at Wellspring are performed via the pill, but the clinic has also been able to perform surgical abortions, according to clinic officials who oppose the bill.

The measure would have required abortions at any clinic to be provided only by a licensed physician with privileges at a hospital within 10 miles.

The result would be major new costs to renovate Wellspring to meet ambulatory surgery facility standards while gaining “medically unnecessary” admitting privileges for its doctors, clinic founder Julie Burkhart said in an emailed statement. Burkhart added that women faced additional travel and work-time costs to meet the demand for ultrasounds.

She said the bill was designed to close the clinic, which would hurt people who need abortion services.

“Banning abortion will never be a means of making this health care obsolete,” he said.

Last year, the Wyoming Legislature passed — and Gordon signed into law — measures restricting abortion in the state, including the first outright U.S. ban on abortion pills. Teton County Circuit Judge Melissa Owens in Jackson laid down the laws on the line While considering the claims made against them by Wellspring et al.

Horse listening in December, Owens said he planned to settle the lawsuit rather than allow it to go to trial. On Monday, he remanded all major questions in the case to the state Supreme Court for a hearing instead.

Owens sympathized with Wyoming’s abortion rights supporters. He said, for example, they would gain an advantage by arguing that abortion is allowed under a 2012 constitutional amendment that says competent adults have the right to make their own health decisions.

Wyoming advocates argue that the amendment approved in response to the federal Affordable Care Act never applied to abortion.

Wyoming’s latest abortion bill faces a higher bar for debate in this year’s legislative session, which ends March 8. In the four-week non-budget session, bills needed a two-thirds vote to be introduced.

“Those of us who support legislation like this know deeply that life has meaning beyond this floor,” Sen. Dan Dockstader, R-Afton, said in a debate before the bill passed the Senate by a 24-6 vote March 1.

The bill previously cleared the State House by a vote of 53-9.

While rejecting the abortion bill, Gordon said he supported the bill’s protections for minors, making Wyoming the latest state to ban sex-affirming medical care for transgender minors. However, he added that he thought such a law amounted to government “interference in the private affairs of families”.

At least 24 states have passed laws restricting or prohibiting sex-affirming medical care for minors, and most of these states have been sued. A federal judge Overturned Arkansas’ ban unconstitutionally. in Idaho and Montanaorders of judges temporarily prevent the enforcement of bans.

Wyoming lawmakers also passed bills this session that would provide parental rights in education. Gordon said the Legislature needs to “sort out its intentions” regarding parental rights.

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