Wyo. Senate Rejects Pre-Abortion Requirements

February 5, 2013 — The Wyoming Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday voted 4-1 to reject a bill (SF 88) that would have required doctors and women to complete several steps, including a waiting period, before an abortion could be performed, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reports (Brown, Wyoming Tribune Eagle, 2/1).

Under the bill, the woman would have had to sign a document stating that she has been notified of the opportunity to view an ultrasound and try to hear the fetal heartbeat. The measure also would have required that the physician describe the fetus' gestational age and anatomical and physiological characteristics from the ultrasound.

In addition, the bill would have mandated that physicians tell women at least 24 hours before the abortion about alternatives, the abortion method, medications, side effects and risks, including "infection, hemorrhage, cervical or uterine perforation, danger to subsequent pregnancies, the increased risk of breast cancer and the death of the unborn fetus" (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/15).

Discussion on the legislation lasted two hours.

State Sen. Leslie Nutting (R), a sponsor of the bill, said the bill would give women important information they need to know before an abortion.

Opponents said the type of information the bill would require physicians to provide is problematic. Rene Hinkle, an ob-gyn in Wyoming, pointed out that there is no scientific evidence linking breast cancer and abortion and that physicians already inform patients of risks for any medical procedure (Hancock, Casper Star-Tribune, 2/1).

Hinkle added, "There is no other procedure performed in this state that requires (legislatively mandated) informed consent."

The bill was the second antiabortion measure in the state that failed in committee this week. A state House committee on Monday rejected a bill (HB 97) that would have prohibited abortion once there is a detectable fetal heartbeat (Wyoming Tribune Eagle, 2/1).