Wyoming Abortion Reporting Bill Headed To State House
A bill that would add requirements to existing state law on reporting abortions has passed the Wyoming House Labor, Health and Social Services Committee on a 5-4 vote.
The Bill now moves on to the full House of Representatives.
House Bill 103 is sponsored by Rep. Scott Clem [R-Campbell County]. The bill would attempt to strengthen existing requirements calling for doctors to report an abortion within 30 days, which Clem says is being widely ignored.
He says the bill is not an anti-abortion bill, but rather an attempt to collect accurate statewide medical data. "Good data makes good policy," he says of the bill's intent. Rep. Clem says the bill has numerous safeguards to protect the identities of women having abortions in Wyoming. The data collected for the report does not include the woman's name, social security number or similar identifying information.
The bill as originally written included a $1,000 fine for doctors who fail to report abortions within 30 days, but that was amended on Thursday morning, with the penalty being changed to a report to the state medical board for doctors who fail to comply with the bill's requirements. That body has the power to fine doctors up to $25,000, according to information presented at the hearing.
While supporters of the measure consider it an attempt to gather needed medical information, opponents at the committee hearing said it is intrusive and unnecessary.
Rep. Mike Yin [D-Teton County] questioned whether the bill might make it more difficult to recruit doctors who might perform abortions to Wyoming. He also questioned whether information about the age, marital status, and ethnicity of women having abortions performed might inadvertently serve to identify women having abortions in some of the state's rural areas.
Cheyenne resident Wendy Volk told the committee she doesn't think the information is anybody's business beyond the woman and her doctor. She said she found it ironic that in the same year that Wyoming is celebrating 150 years of women getting the right to vote in Wyoming, such a bill is even being considered.
The committee vote was tied 4-4, mostly along partisan lines, when committee chair Rep. Sue Wilson [R-Laramie County] cast the final and deciding vote in favor of the bill.