CHEYENNE — Two of three bills that could restrict abortion in Wyoming have been assigned to the Senate Agriculture committee, prompting one critic to question why they aren’t going to the group of lawmakers debating health issues.
A third abortion bill is going to the Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee, the group of lawmakers that typically reviews such legislation.
The three bills have already passed the House.
“I have not spoken to the Senate president yet, but the clear message that seems to be resonating around the Capitol is, are women livestock?” said Aimee Van Cleave, executive director of the Wyoming Democratic Party.
Going to the Agriculture, State and Public Lands & Water Resources Committee are House Bill 116, which would make anyone who sells or gives tissue or cells from aborted fetuses subject to felony charges, and HB182, which would require doctors to offer women an ultrasound before an abortion, and to hear a fetus’ heartbeat if possible.
The committee will hear both bills Thursday, upon adjournment.
House Bill 250 will go to the Labor, Health and Social Services committee. It would increase fines for doctors who do not report abortions they perform and create a felony charge if they purchase or sell fetal or human body parts, with the exception of hair, blood and other body parts that can be replenished.
The Senate ag committee is composed of five men, all Republicans.
The labor and health committee also has all Republican men – there is a dearth of women and Democrats in the Wyoming Legislature. But Van Cleave said the members of the Senate ag committee lean more socially conservative.
Van Cleave, who opposes the bills and has been monitoring them at the Wyoming Legislature, said she’s certain the legislation will advance from ag to the Senate floor.
Senate President Eli Bebout assigned the bills to the committees.
He said the labor and health committee is busy with a number of bills and the ag group had more time to thoroughly vet them.
Allegations that women are being equated to cattle are ridiculous, the Riverton Republican said.
Bebout said the lawmakers on ag will do a good job “working the bill,” which means taking public comment and possibly amending the legislation.
“The title of the committee has nothing to do with the person who serves on that committee,” he said.