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Wyoming committee votes down abortion bill

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 28, 2013 at 8:54 pm •  Published: January 28, 2013
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Several people testified that they believed the bill was unconstitutional given the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark ruling in the Roe vs. Wade case that generally held abortion to be legal.

Speaking in favor of the bill, Rep. Mike Baker, R-Rock Springs, said he wasn't swayed by arguments that the bill was unconstitutional. "We are representing the people of Wyoming, and we decide what laws to pass," he said.

"People to the state south of us, decide they want to legalize marijuana, that's their choice," Baker said. "We want to make abortion illegal, that's our choice."

Elizabeth Hoy, health policy officer in Gov. Matt Mead's office, questioned whether the bill would force women to carry fetuses to term even if they knew the fetus had a genetic abnormality that would make it incapable of living outside the womb.

Taylor Haynes, a surgeon who testified in favor of the bill, responded that it would require a woman to carry such unviable fetuses to term.

Before the committee took a final vote on the bill, it adopted an amendment proposed by Chairman Rep. Elaine Harvey, R-Lovell, to grant an exception allowing abortion for women carrying fetuses that were not viable.

Lloyd Larsen, R-Lander, spoke in favor of the bill before the committee's final vote. "I just think that I have to stand up and defend that individual who is innocent, above all innocence, and hasn't got a way to defend himself," he said.

Harvey, Larsen and Rep. Kathy Coleman, R-Sheridan voted for the bill. Reps. Eric Barlow, R-Gillette; Lee Filer, D-Cheyenne; Matt Greene, R-Laramie; Norine Kasperik, R-Gillette; and Throne voted against it.