CASPER, Wyo. — 25 Wyoming legislators, including two from Natrona County, are sponsoring a so-called “fetal heartbeat bill” that would ban most abortions.
Similar legislation has passed in other states, most recently in South Carolina. While South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster signed the bill into law on Feb. 17, the Associated Press reports that Planned Parenthood “immediately sued, effectively preventing the new law from taking effect.”
Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, abortion rights have been protected in the country.
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Wyoming isn’t the only state to be looking at “heartbeat bills” in the wake of the passage of South Carolina’s “Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act.” Debate on a similar bill was delayed in the Idaho Senate on Monday, according to CBS2.
Wyoming’s proposed House Bill 134 would aim to ban abortions after and “embryo or fetus has a detectable fetal heartbeat.” Under current Wyoming statute, abortions are banned once a fetus or embryo has reached “viability.”
Viability in Wyoming law is defined as “that stage of human development when the embryo or fetus is able to live by natural or life-supportive systems outside the womb of the mother according to appropriate medical judgment.”
Under the proposed heartbeat bill, “detectable fetal heartbeat” would be defined as “cardiac activity or the steady and repetitive rhythmic contraction of the fetal heart within the gestational sac that is detectable using standard medical equipment.”
Heartbeats can be detected as early as early as 5 and a half weeks after gestation, according to Healthline, though how early a heartbeat can be detected depends on the method used to detect it.
Natrona’s Rep. Chuck Gray and Rep. Steve Harshman are among sponsors of House Bill 134. Other sponsors include:
- Representatives Andrew, Baker, Bear, Blackburn, Flitner, Fortner, Haroldson, Knapp, Laursen, Neiman, Ottman, Rodriguez-Williams, Romero-Martinez, Styvar, Wharff, Winter
- Senators Biteman, Boner, Bouchard, Hicks, Hutchings, Kinskey, McKeown