CHEYENNE -- The Wyoming House on Tuesday defeated a bill that would have required doctors to inform abortion patients that they could view ultrasound images of their fetuses before the procedure.
The House vote 32-23 against the bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Brechtel, R-Casper. He had argued that women considering abortion should know the truth about the procedure.
Brechtel said he wanted women to know about "the haunting question, and the torture and pain that can be inflicted, especially during late-term abortions."
Opponents of Brechtel's bill included Rep. Sue Wallis, R-Recluse. She said that years ago, as a young single mother who already had three children, she made the difficult decision to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.
Wallis objected to language in Brechtel's bill that would have required doctors to provide the ultrasound information to women in person at least 24 hours before an abortion procedure.
"If the intention is to offer women some information, why can't that be provided over the phone?" Wallis said. "Why can't that be provided on the day that she travels across the state? It seems to me that the only reason that's put in place is to make it more difficult."
Rep. Lisa Shepperson, R-Casper, also spoke against the bill.
"My point is simple: What we have works," Shepperson said. "When I go to the doctor, it is the most private thing you can imagine. I want myself, I want my husband, and I want my doctor there. I don't want any government."
WyWatch Family Action, a Wyoming-based family values group, lobbied in favor of Brechtel's bill. Becky Vandeberghe of the group said after the House vote that she was disappointed with the outcome.
"We're going to keep trying," Vandeberghe said. "We're going to come back next year and try again. But we're disappointed that the Legislature won't take a look at this bill and try to protect women from misinformation from those who profit from abortions."
Brechtel said after the vote that he won't give up. "I'm going to stand strong for the defense of life, and at least try to help people understand where we're injuring women and certainly damaging families and children," he said.
Sharon Breitweiser, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wyoming, an abortion rights group based in Laramie, said her group had lobbied against the bill.
"We are just delighted that the Legislature voted down this ill-conceived piece of legislation," Breitweiser said. "We lobbied the way we always do, we relied on facts and reason, rather than trying to appeal to emotion."