Wyoming 2014 Report Card

Ranking: 35

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Wyoming lacks many basic legal protections for human life. For example, Wyoming does not require informed consent for abortion, mandate minimum health and safety standards for abortion clinics, protect unborn victims of violence, and criminalize assisted suicide.

Abortion:

  • No abortion may be performed after viability unless necessary to protect the woman from “imminent peril that substantially endangers her life or health.”
  • Wyoming does not have an informed consent law for abortion.
  • A physician may not perform an abortion on an unemancipated minor under the age of 18 who is not in active military service or who has not lived independently and apart from her parents for more than six months without receiving the consent of one parent, unless there is a medical emergency or the minor obtains a court order.
  • Only a physician licensed to practice medicine in the state and using accepted medical procedures may perform an abortion.
  • The state has an enforceable abortion reporting law, but does not require the reporting of information to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The measure pertains to both surgical and nonsurgical abortions and requires abortion providers to report short-term complications.
  • Wyoming follows federal standard for Medicaid funding for abortions, permitting the use of federal or state matching Medicaid funds for abortions necessary to preserve the life of the woman or when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

Legal Recognition and Protection of Unborn and Newly Born:

  • Wyoming law does not recognize an unborn child as a potential victim of homicide or assault.
  • Wyoming law defines an attack on a pregnant woman resulting in a miscarriage or stillbirth as a criminal assault. The state also provides enhanced
    penalties for murdering a pregnant woman.
  • The state allows a wrongful death (civil) action only when an unborn child is born alive following a negligent or criminal act and dies thereafter.
  • Wyoming law requires the “commonly accepted means of care shall be employed in the treatment of any viable infant aborted alive with any chance of survival.”
  • Wyoming has a “Baby Moses” law, establishing a safe haven for mothers to legally leave their infants at designated places and ensuring the infants receive appropriate care and protection.

Bioethics Laws:

  • Wyoming has not banned human cloning or destructive embryo research. Further, it does
    not comprehensively ban fetal experimentation, instead prohibiting only the sale, transfer, or “giving away” of a live or viable aborted child for experimentation. The provision does not apply to children aborted prior to viability.
  • The state does not promote ethical alternatives to destructive embryo research.
  • Wyoming maintains no comprehensive measures regulating human egg harvesting or assisted reproductive technologies, but it includes “donation of embryos” in the definition of “assisted reproduction.”

End of Life Laws:

  • Wyoming has not enacted a statutory prohibition against assisted suicide. Moreover, since the state does not recognize common law crimes (including assisting in suicide), the legal status of assisted suicide in Wyoming is unclear.

Healthcare Freedom of Conscience:

Participation in Abortion and Healthcare Systems:

  • A person is not required to participate in an abortion or in any act that assists in the performance of an abortion.
  • A healthcare provider’s conscientious objection to participation in abortion may not be the basis for civil liability, discrimination in employment, or the imposition of other sanctions by a hospital, person, firm, association, or group. Moreover, a healthcare provider injured because of a violation of his or her right of conscience may bring a civil action for damages or injunctive relief.
  • A private hospital, institution, or facility is not required to perform or to admit a woman for the purposes of performing an abortion.
  • A private hospital, institution, or facility’s conscientious objection to permitting an abortion within its facility or admitting a patient for an abortion may not be a basis for civil liability.
  • In 2012, Wyoming voters approved a state constitutional amendment providing that none can be compelled to participate in any healthcare system. By doing so, they voted to protect the freedom of conscience of individuals, employers, and healthcare providers who object to providing or paying for certain services, such as abortion and drugs with life-ending mechanisms of action.

Participation in Research Harmful to Human Life:

  • Wyoming currently provides no protection for the rights of healthcare providers who conscientiously object to participation in human cloning, destructive embryo research, or other forms of medical research, which violate a provider’s moral or religious belief.

What Happened in 2013:

  • Wyoming considered legislation prohibiting abortion when an unborn child has a heartbeat, as well as measures regarding informed consent, ultrasound, and parental involvement.

Recommendations for Wyoming:

Women’s Protection Project Priorities:

  • Women’s Health Defense Act
  • Women’s Right to Know Act with reflection period
  • Women’s Health Protection Act (abortion clinic regulations)
  • Abortion-Inducing Drugs Safety Act
  • Parental Involvement Enhancement Act
  • Components of the Child Protection Act related to evidence retention and remedies for third-party interference with parental rights

Additional Priorities:

Abortion:
  • Abortion Mandate Opt-Out Act
  • Defunding the Abortion Industry and Advancing Women’s Health Act
  • Women’s Ultrasound Right to Know Act
  • Coercive Abuse Against Mothers Prevention Act
  • Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act
  • Joint Resolution Commending Pregnancy Resource Centers
Legal Recognition and Protection for the Unborn:
  • Crimes Against the Unborn Child Act
  • Unborn Wrongful Death Act
  • Pregnant Woman’s Protection Act
Bioethics:
  • Human Cloning Prohibition Act
  • Destructive Embryo Research Act
  • Prohibition on Public Funding of Human Cloning and Destructive Embryo Research Act
End of Life:
  • Assisted Suicide Ban Act

Healthcare Freedom of Conscience:

  • Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act
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