Natrona County Commission Defers Anti-Abortion Resolution Request
Two weeks ago, more than a dozen area residents voiced their opposition to abortion and the Wellspring Health Access Clinic, which offers abortion services, and demanded the Natrona County Commission take legal action to oppose it, or at least pass a resolution supporting their cause.
Wednesday, the commissioners decided to not act on that request for the time being.
"I implore you as the lesser magistrates to abide by the law and the will of we the people and prevent this business from performing its gruesome macabre activities," Wyoming Rep. Jeanette Ward (R-House District 57) said.
"The county commissioners need to stand up and take action to shut it down," Ward said,
But the commissioners at a work session balked for several reasons, starting with Jim Milne who brought up the matter for consideration.
"We kind of got ambushed by this," Milne said of the battery of speakers.
Likewise, many of the speakers misunderstood what a county commission can do, he said.
Abortion is a complex moral, personal and political matter, Milne said.
Natrona County is a conservative place, but the commissioners did not hear from people who would disagree with the speakers two weeks ago, and the commissioners have a duty to hear different points of view, he said.
State law clearly controls what a county commission can do, Milne said. "Our abilities are severely limited."
Commissioner Dave North added that the commission doesn't have the ability to regulate businesses. That doesn't mean it supports every business that comes to town, he said.
North added he supports those against abortion.
The case is in the courts, he said. "I don't believe in judicial legislation."
Commissioner Dallas Laird quoted the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all human beings are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Laird substituted "human beings" for men.
Laird said he thought a "right to life" resolution could be crafted in an appropriate way.
He added that he has never favored the death penalty.
Commission Chairman Steve Freel ended the discussion by saying any resolution will need to follow however the Wyoming Supreme Court rules.
Despite the Commission's decision and the presence of some of those who spoke two weeks ago during the work session, no one spoke about the issue during the public comment period at its regular meeting.
However, several of them spoke during the public comment period at the Casper City Council meeting happening at the same time as the Commission meeting.