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Wyoming House vote 48-11 to prohibit UW, community colleges from funding elective abortions

University of Wyoming UW Prexy's pasture / Arts and Sciences building

CASPER, Wyo. — The Wyoming House of Representatives passed House Bill 253 on a third reading vote of 48-11 on Wednesday.

The legislation would prohibit the University of Wyoming and community colleges across the state from using any funding they control to provide either elective abortions for students or “group health insurance that provides coverage of elective abortions for students.”

If they were to use funding to provide elective abortions or group health insurance that provides coverage of elective abortions, the institution would not be eligible to receive state funding.

The legislation would be a new policy for community colleges (due to an amendment passed on first reading) and would codify in state statute a policy the legislature imposed on UW via the budget bill passed in 2020.

The House defeated an amendment on second reading that would have required UW and community colleges to provide “long-acting reversible contraceptives to all students who request such contraception,” in order to receive state funding.

The House adopted an amendment ahead of their third reading vote proposed by Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (Laramie County). That amendment didn’t change the policy contemplated by the legislation but would create a new section of state statute for the rule rather than amending existing statutes.

The proposed new Wyoming Statute 21-16-1701 would read as follows:

HIGHER EDUCATION EXPENDITURES ON ABORTIONS

Prohibition on expending funds for abortion.

(a) As a condition of receiving or expending any monies or funds appropriated to the University of Wyoming, the University of Wyoming shall not expend any general funds, federal funds or other funds under its control for:

(i) Elective abortions for students;

(ii) Group health insurance that provides coverage of elective abortions for students.

(b) As a condition of receiving any monies or funds appropriated to the community college commission, a community college shall not expend any funds for:

(i) Elective abortions for students;

(ii) Group health insurance that provides coverage of elective abortions for students.

The House’s 48-11 vote on House Bill 253 was as follows:

  • Ayes: ANDREW, BAKER, BEAR, BLACKBURN, BROWN, BURKHART, BURT, CLAUSEN, CRAGO, DUNCAN, EKLUND, EYRE, FLITNER, FORTNER, GRAY, GREEAR, HALLINAN, HAROLDSON, HARSHMAN, HEINER, HENDERSON, HUNT, JENNINGS, KINNER, BARLOW, KNAPP, LARSEN, L, LAURSEN, D, MACGUIRE, MARTINEZ, NEIMAN, NEWSOME, OAKLEY, OBERMUELLER, O’HEARN, OLSEN, OTTMAN, PAXTON, SIMPSON, SOMMERS, STITH, STYVAR, WASHUT, WESTERN, WHARFF, WILSON, WINTER, ZWONITZER
  • Nays: BANKS, CLIFFORD, CONNOLLY, NICHOLAS, PROVENZA, ROSCOE, SCHWARTZ, SHERWOOD, SWEENEY, WALTERS, YIN
  • Excused: WILLIAMS

The bill will move to the Senate for consideration.

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