WYOMING — In a press release on March 24, Governor Gordon expressed his opinion on the recent anti-abortion legislation and clarified that his support should be seen as pro-life and not pro-birth.
Governor Gordon effectively made abortion illegal in the state of Wyoming by signing a bill prohibiting the pill and allowing the Right to Life Act to pass into law without his signature. A Teton County judge has issued a temporary restraining order for the legislation.
In his opinion letter, Governor Gordon stated that his support of the new laws is distinctly pro-life, not just pro-birth. “If one is truly pro-life, it means supporting mothers, Wyoming’s families and our kids, not just opposing abortion.”
The U.S. has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality among high-income countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 2016 to 2020 Northern America experienced a 17 percent increase in maternal mortality rates. Recent data has shown that 84 percent of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable.
According to Kaiser Health, 68 percent of legal abortions reported in Wyoming were white women, while 28 percent were hispanic women. Racial disparities in maternal mortality have been persistent in the U.S., and increased barriers to abortion are likely to increase this health gap. Maternal mortality rates are also nearly two times higher in rural areas due to reduced access to intensive care units.
Governor Gordon pointed to the recent Wyoming laws extending medicaid to twelve months for mothers, requiring a plan of safe care for infants exposed to substances and creating a new 24/7 crisis hotline 988 for free mental health assistance as legislation that will support the lives of infants and mothers in light of the restrictions on abortion. It is important to note that the bill prohibiting chemical abortions discredits self-harm or suicidality as a basis for any exception.
The current lawsuit against the new bills questions if a pro-life stance still puts undue government infringement on Wyoming citizens and takes away a fundamental right for people to make their own healthcare decisions.