A look at how Wyoming’s trigger bill will affect women’s health

Wyoming’s trigger law will likely go into effect within the next month. The new legislation will affect women’s health and may affect birthing fetuses with...
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 10:51 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Wyoming’s trigger law will likely go into effect next month.

The new legislation will affect women’s health and may affect birthing fetuses with abnormalities, in-vitro eggs, and what the medical field can and can not do.

Shelli and Eric Stewart are the happy parents of 4 children, but their journey into parenthood hasn’t always been easy.

Within weeks of becoming pregnant, Shelli started experiencing severe pain and was diagnosed with an Ectopic pregnancy.

“We wanted a family so badly...forgive me and it was just really hard,” said Shelli.

She had a therapeutic abortion and went on with her life, but it happened again.

Shelli’s story isn’t uncommon.

Wyoming Republican Ob-Gyn, Dr. Rene Hinkle, says miscarriages happen about 20 percent of the time and Ectopic pregnancies occur in 1 of 50 pregnancies.

After the surgical and medicinal abortions, Shelli moved forward, applying for adoption and trying in-vitro.

Her doctors fertilized 10 eggs, implanting 3, but they didn’t take.

”What do these legislators expect for women that go through in-vitro? Let’s say they successfully harvest 20 eggs and are able to create 20 embryos. Do they expect these women to have 20 babies? I mean, that’s insane,” said Shelli.

Eric agrees, ”The law has intent, but I don’t think it’s really thought out well of how it truly impacts people’s lives. It’s more based upon a political stance that’s going to create votes.”

Following the Supreme Court decision and the looming state trigger law, Hinkle fears for the safety and future of Wyoming women and the state.

“It is government reaching into the personal lives of women in Wyoming and women in the United States,” said Hinkle. ”It’s frustrating. I think we’re going to lose a lot of young people in Wyoming and we don’t have that many young people, to begin with.”

This new legislation will also make it more difficult for the medical field to practice when there are genetic abnormalities.

Babies formed without a brain or heart may now have to be carried to term.

“That is the ethical thing to do for a mom whose baby will not survive outside of the womb. Why should they have to go through the emotional and physical risks of carrying a pregnancy to term knowing that this baby won’t live,” said Hinkle.

The state trigger law, which will soon go into effect, will only allow abortion in the state for rape, incest and if the mother’s life is threatened.

Wyoming’s Right to Life President Marti Halverson wants to take that restriction further to eliminate exceptions.

“Life is sacred in Wyoming, and we aim to keep it that way,” says Halverson.

Halverson says that this legislation is something people have not only prayed for but will ensure that their voters follow up.

”We’re going to ask Legislative candidates and candidates for Governor to strike rape and incest as exceptions from our 2022 trigger bill...and that is going to be an issue on the campaign trail,” said Halverson.

Hinkle says if legislation bans women’s rights to control their reproductive freedom, they will have to put money into programs that care for these babies.

Which could mean increased funding for Medicaid, WIC, contraception, comprehensive sex ed., and child care since many women who choose to have an abortion do so for financial reasons, as well as needing an increase in school security to make children a priority.

“If you can take away a woman’s right to make a medical choice for herself and her family... how is it not ok to take away the right to carry an AR-15 into a school and shoot 19 kids?” said Hinkle.

Shelli and her husband share their story because they believe everyone should be informed and have a choice.

“If you’re going to introduce a law, make it for the entire state and every citizen of Wyoming that’s going to be right for them. Not just right for what they believe their political views are,” said Eric.

Shelli agrees, “You can’t legislate morality. No matter what you do, you can’t legislate how you think somebody else should live... I don’t see myself as different from any other woman who has to make a choice... I had to sign the paper. I consented, it was still a choice.”

Hinkle says misinformation about contraception as abortifacients (a substance that induces abortion) is incorrect, which may further limit women’s options.

An unexpected effect this abortion debate is having is that it may affect where young people choose to live to meet their medical needs.

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