Wyo. House Panel Rejects Fetal Heartbeat Bill

January 30, 2013 — The Wyoming House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee on Monday voted 5-3 to reject a bill (HB 97) that would have prohibited abortion once there is a detectable fetal heartbeat, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Neary, AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/28).

The measure -- proposed by state Rep. Kendell Kroeker (R) -- would have defined a "legal" heartbeat as "cardiac activity or steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac that is detectable using standard medical equipment" (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/15).

Some experts said the bill would have banned abortion beginning around six weeks of pregnancy. Prior to the vote, the committee adopted an amendment -- proposed by Committee Chair Elaine Harvey (R) -- that would have allowed exceptions when the fetus had fatal anomalies.

During discussion of the bill, state Rep. Mary Throne (D) expressed concern that the measure was unconstitutionally vague. She noted that the point at which a fetal heartbeat can be detected varies depending on the type of medical equipment used (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/28).