Every week, Rewire.News highlights trends in abortion-related legislation moving through the states, and how those bills might affect abortion access. This week, we look at Wyoming’s dubious “born-alive” bill, a “trigger law” in Idaho, and anti-abortion efforts in Kentucky.
A bill based on the anti-abortion myth that doctors commit infanticide after so-called failed abortions passed the Wyoming House last Wednesday, two weeks after it passed the state senate. SF 97 now heads to the desk of Gov. Mark Gordon (R), an opponent of abortion rights.
Republicans in state legislatures across the country, as well as U.S. Senate Republicans, have pushed similar “born-alive” legislation, which relies on misinformation about later abortion care disseminated by anti-choice activists and legislators.
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The Wyoming bill, which would impose a penalty up to 14 years in prison for a physician who violated its provisions, is even more punitive than the U.S. Senate legislation. Democratic lawmakers opposed to the bill expressed concern, according to the Casper Star-Tribune, about “the chilling penalties that could cause physicians to pause or even decline to facilitate procedures necessary to save a life or prevent further suffering by the child—even if requested by the parent.”
Wyoming already prohibits abortion after viability, except to protect the pregnant person’s life or health, and physicians in the state only provide first-trimester abortion care, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming.
In a party-line vote last Thursday, Republicans in the Idaho Senate passed a so-called trigger ban that would prohibit legal abortion if U.S. Supreme Court conservatives strike down Roe v. Wade.
Idaho had passed a trigger law after the landmark Roe decision in 1973, but it was repealed in 1990, the Post Register reported. Under the bill now being considered in the Republican-dominated legislature, a doctor would face up to five years in prison for providing abortion care. SB 1385 was referred to a house committee for a possible hearing, the Post Register reported.
Eight states already have trigger laws on the books; Utah will soon become the ninth if the state’s governor signs a bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature Thursday.
Kentucky’s Republican-controlled house passed legislation last Tuesday that seeks to amend the state constitution to state that it doesn’t guarantee a right to abortion. If HB 67 receives three-fifths of the vote in the state senate—where Republicans hold 29 of 38 seats—the amendment will then go before voters this fall, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
Amending the state constitution is a tactic used by Republicans in several state legislatures this year.
House Republicans also approved HB 451, a measure that would increase the power of the Republican state attorney general to seek penalties against abortion clinics for violating medically unnecessary regulations. Lawmakers said the bill, which would allow the attorney general to act without the authorization of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration, would turn the attorney general into a “special prosecutor” against abortion clinics, the Courier-Journal reported. The legislation now heads to the state senate.