Laramie protests Roe v. Wade decision, trigger bill

By: 
Abby Vader Graaf with Laramie Boomerang, Via the Wyoming News Exchange

LARAMIE — As the potential for an abortion ban looms over Wyoming, local abortion-rights advocates have made it clear they won’t accept it quietly. 

“We all love someone who has had an abortion or could need one. I think it’s bulls- — they’re taking it away,” said Brie Squires. 

Squires was one of about 200 protestors who lined the sidewalk along the north side of Grand Avenue outside the Albany County Courthouse around 5 p.m. Friday. The group came carrying signs and clad in T-shirts displaying messages of support for abortion rights and outrage at politicians and the Supreme Court for taking them away. 

The U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade announced Friday morning eliminates nearly 50 years of federal protection for abortion rights. The decision leaves it up to states to make their own abortion legislation. 

So far, 13 states have either banned abortion or have a trigger law in place to do so. Wyoming is a trigger state, meaning its ban on abortion is intended to go into effect now that Roe v. Wade is reversed by the Supreme Court. 

House Bill 92, which was passed by state lawmakers during their session earlier this year, outlaws abortion except in cases of sexual assault, incest or a serious risk of harm to the pregnant person. Under the bill, the penalty for providing an abortion is a felony punishable by up to 14 years in prison. 

“This news is devastating for the health and economic welfare for women in this country,” said Sandra Moore, a member of Pro-Choice Wyoming who attended the protest. “Abortion is essential health care.”

Pro-Choice Wyoming planned the demonstration, and word of it quickly spread among community members who wanted to speak out against the decision. 

Wyoming state Reps. Karlee Provenza and Trey Sherwood, both D-Laramie, addressed the crowd and asked for continued support in working to salvage abortion rights. Wyoming Attorney General Bridget Hill has 30 days to review Wyoming’s trigger bill and assess its constitutionality under the new Supreme Court decision. She will then report her results to Gov. Mark Gordon, who may certify it with the Secretary of State’s Office, according to the bill. 

“Our children shouldn’t have fewer rights than our mothers did,” protestor Ashley Brown said. 

The feeling was echoed by the mass of demonstrators along Grand Avenue, who chanted, “We will not go back!” as people driving by honked and shouted support. A few also booed the crowd. 

There were some in the group from Chicago and in Laramie on vacation. They decided to join the demonstration and show their support regardless. 

“We’re glad to be here on vacation because change needs to be made,” said Nancy Frenk.

By around 6 p.m., the protesters started to head home, many of them expressing a new commitment to continue advocating for abortion rights. 

“We need Roe here in Wyoming,” protestor Finley Smith said. “This is what the people want and the people need to be heard.”

 

This story was posted on June 26, 2022.

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