Wyoming lawmakers face anti-abortion bills

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 15, 2013 at 5:57 pm •  Published: January 15, 2013

Speaking of Nutting's bill, Breitweiser noted that Wyoming citizens amended the state constitution last year to recognize peoples' right to make their own health care decisions.

A large poster is on display in the pedestrian tunnel between the state Capitol and the neighboring Herschler Building during the current legislative session. It shows a fetus and the words, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. God, Jeremiah 1:5."

WyWatch Family Action, an anti-abortion group, is displaying the poster. The group won a federal court ruling against the state last year acknowledging that state officials had violated the constitutional rights of WyWatch members by removing that same poster in 2011.

Under a settlement agreement, the state agreed to pay WyWatch Family Action $1 in nominal damages and $30,000 in attorney fees.

After WyWatch filed its lawsuit early last year, the State Building Commission, which includes Gov. Matt Mead and the other four statewide elected officials, enacted a new policy banning all public displays of materials in the tunnel area. The commission reversed itself last July and agreed to reopen the space.

Becky Vandeberghe, chairman of WyWatch, said Tuesday her group reinstalled the poster in advance of a "right to life march" scheduled for Saturday in Cheyenne. She said her group strongly supports Kroeker's bill and is informing its members to turn out to support it.

Rich Cathcart is the state official whose decision to remove the WyWatch poster in 2011 sparked the WyWatch lawsuit. He said Tuesday that he's still in charge of reviewing posters.

Cathcart said he judges them as acceptable, "if I look at it and I'm not offended." He said that if he found one offensive, he would forward it to the governor's office for further review.