Wyoming House Committee Votes For Abortion Waiting Period Bill
After about an hour and a half of emotionally charged testimony on both sides of the issue, the Wyoming House Judiciary Committee voted 6-3 in favor of a 48-hour waiting period for abortions in Wyoming.
The bill now goes on to the Wyoming House of Representatives for further consideration.
You can read House Bill 197 here. Opponents of the bill called the proposal discriminatory and unnecessary. Dr. Rene Hinkle of Cheyenne told the committee that there is no scientific evidence to show that a waiting period changes a woman's mind about having an abortion.
She said that while she personally does not perform abortions, in general, "most patients, by the time they come in to see a physician, they know what they want to have done." Several opponents of the bill also pointed out that there are not state-mandated waiting periods for other medical procedures, and said the bill clearly treats women unfairly.
But supporters of the bill argued that there is no such thing as allowing too much time for a decision when (in their view) human lives are on the line. ''It's designed to give a woman the chance to consider the ramifications of her decision," said Rep. Richard Tass (R-Sheridan/Johnson counties), one of the sponsors of HB 197.
Tass noted that it's almost impossible to get even a simple procedure such as a tooth pulled on the same day. He also said that while he doesn't know how many minds will be changed by the waiting period, saving even one life makes the bill worthwhile.
In the end, six of the committee's seven Republicans voted for the bill, while Rep. Clark Stith (R-Sweetwater County) joined Democratic Reps. Sara Burlingame and Charles Pelkey in voting against the measure.
But even after the committee vote, opponents vowed to continue the fight against the measure.
''They haven't seen the last of me" said Wendy Volk of Cheyenne, who testified against the bill.