Barron: Killing a bad bill deserves some credit | Columns

CHEYENNE — Wyoming has once again been part of a high-profile national publication. And, again, this is not in a favorable light.

And, again, Wyoming got no credit for what it didn’t do.

The lead essay in the latest issue of The New Yorker magazine is a scathing critique of the movement in the states following the Supreme Court’s decision against the Roe opinion of the early 1970s.

The author of the “Talk of the Town” segment is Jia Tolentino, a staff writer.

She paints a very bleak picture for women who live in a state that prohibits or will prohibit abortion. Wyoming is on the list.

“Anyone who can get pregnant must now face the reality that half the country is in the hands of lawmakers who believe your personality and autonomy are conditional,” she wrote.

Additionally, in these anti-abortion states, “any pregnancy loss after an early deadline can now potentially be investigated as a crime.”

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Some Republican officials, meanwhile, have said they would try to pass a federal abortion ban if and when they control both houses of Congress and the presidency.

This at a time when 57% of Americans support a woman’s right to an abortion for some reason.

In addition to blistering state lawmakers who passed these anti-abortion bills, Tolentino hits out at the Democratic Party and pro-choice supporters for ignoring what she claims is the growing criminalization of pregnancy as well as the inadequacy of Roe.

In May, Democrats in Congress with a Democrat in the White House had the opportunity to override the filibuster and codify the Roe decision into federal law of the land.

The Wyoming Legislature is drawn into this essay as part of the segment on the criminalization of pregnancy.

Wyoming’s proposed law would have resembled that passed by the state of Tennessee. This would have created a special crime category of child endangerment for drug use during pregnancy.

Wyoming House Bill 85 easily passed the House 46 to 13 but failed in the Senate, where the far right has less power.

The debate in the Senate was exceptionally thoughtful, as some members noted both sides involved – protecting the unborn child and dealing with the addiction of the mother.

Opponents argued that the bill would deter pregnant women with drug addiction from seeking prenatal care for fear of arrest.

Senator Tara Nethercott, R-Cheyenne, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the bill “absurd” because it allowed for the arrest of the pregnant woman but contained no plan to treat her addiction.

Instead, it would put the drug-addicted pregnant woman back on the streets on probation and poorer for the experience.

Sen. Cale Case, R-Lander, said he wanted to see a bill that would give the pregnant woman all the options available to her for her treatment, except for one dealing with her arrest and probation. obligatory.

Sen. Anthony Bouchard, R-Cheyenne, an opponent of abortion, said he could understand why a drug-addicted pregnant woman would consider abortion if the bill passed as is.

Senator Fred Baldwin, R-Kemmerer, was one of the sponsors of the bill that ended up voting against it.

A medical assistant, Baldwin said he focused on the welfare of the unborn child. He talked about his experience of seeing newborns with withdrawal symptoms due to the mother’s addiction. “It was heartbreaking,” he said.

Still, he had to consider the bill’s effect on the drug-addicted mother, he said.

Wyoming has few inpatient treatment programs and all of them have waiting lists, he said.

Bill fell short 8-17 with five excuses.

Nobody mentioned Tennessee’s temporary “fetal assault” law. He passed in 2014 for a two-year trial period. The law authorizes the prosecution of female drug addicts whose newborn babies show signs of withdrawal.

Tennessee lawmakers let it expire. They said the drug addiction side of the argument prevailed due to reports of drug-addicted pregnant women dodging prenatal care for fear of arrest.

At the same time, the number of babies born with withdrawal symptoms remained the same.

Joan Barron is a former Capitol Bureau reporter. Contact her at 307-632-2534 or [email protected]

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