Thursday, August 15 2019
For the vast majority of Wyomingites the sanctity of life is of profound importance, and this extends well beyond the womb. Over this last year we had a county commissioner vacancy in Campbell County. The man who was eventually appointed to the seat is unashamedly pro-life, and his life’s actions proved it with fostering dozens of children over the years. This is inspiring, and yet there is more work to be done.
When I was first elected to the Wyoming House an argument was made on the House floor that we didn’t need any more pro-life laws because there wasn’t any abortions in Wyoming. Since the 1970’s we had a law on the books, enacted by a Democrat Governor, that required abortion providers to submit a report on how many abortions took place. The year after it was enacted, small town Wyoming reported over 700 abortions in a year’s time. More than double than was estimated.
Fast forward to today. How could there be less than 5 abortions reported in the last 5 years? The answer: abortion providers in our state have decided to violate state law and not report because there was no penalty for not reporting. Brazenly, two Wyoming providers publicly stated as much, implying they were above the law.
So why report anyway? There’s a saying in the halls of the Wyoming Capital: good data makes good policy. While the abortion reports are completely anonymous and leave out any personal identifiable information, it does include data on the age of the woman, the age of the fetus, the type of procedure used, and any complications that occurred. If an abortion clinic had an unusually high number of cervical lacerations or uterine perforations, wouldn’t that be something of interest to ensure women’s health? Or if we had a high number of 15-18 year olds seeking abortions from a particular county, wouldn’t that be of interest to ensure we were providing the resources and education to prevent unwanted pregnancies?
Thankfully, things changed this year. With the help of my cosponsors, we successfully ran a bill that added investigation and enforcement mechanisms regarding abortion reporting to ensure the existing reporting law is being followed. Governor Gordan signed the bill into law earlier this year. I’m of the opinion that it is never ok to rip apart and kill a child in the womb, but until such a time as this barbaric practice is done away, shouldn’t we know how many lives are being taken from us? Shouldn’t we do more to protect women’s health? With the enactment of this new law on July 1, 2019, we’re one step closer in protecting all life.
Scott Clem has been married for 14 years and has 4 children. In addition to serving as a pastor, he is serving his 3rd term in the Wyoming House and is currently the vice-chairman of the House Labor, Health & Social Services Committee.
Sunday, August 04 2019
Re Sheila McGuire’s article dated July 23, it covers such a vast array of topics, it is difficult to know where to begin. It is peculiar at least that a newspaper reporter would be spouting so many opinions without a shred of supporting evidence. Let me confine my comments to just a few of Ms. McGuire’s paragraphs. First, she asserts that “the Constitution explicitly forbids the establishment of a religion that dictates the public sphere”. Really? What the U.S. Constitution actually says is that “Congress shall establish no religion”. In other words, religion not a federal issue. It is a moral issue that is currently enshrined in the platforms of both major political parties.
Democrats officially favor a woman’s right to abort her unborn child. Republicans, by contrast, believe that every child has a right to life from conception that is inalienable. Party platforms constitute what each party considers timeless truths. Moving to the first of two paragraphs on legislation, Ms. McGuire first asserts that some states’ draconian laws require rape victims to give birth but also require them to co-parent with their rapist. State law in every state sends rapists to prison, surely. No documentation is provided for this extravagant claim. If this dubious situation is true in some states, it is definitely not the case in Wyoming, which passed a statute earlier this year to prevent rapists from having any parental rights (https://www.wyoleg.gov/Legislation/2019/HB0107). Both rape victims and babies that are conceived in rape need to be supported under the law and by the community. Next, “Other legislation claims terminating a pregnancy is never a medical necessity and makes no exceptions.” This might very well be the case. However, Ms. McGuire chooses as her example an ectopic pregnancy. Anyone knows that ectopic pregnancies are tragic situations that cannot result in a healthy live birth and are also extremely dangerous to the mother. The standard treatment for ectopic pregnancy is not abortion but rather a procedure called salpingectomy. Currently there is no way to save the life of the embryo, so this is an unfortunate outcome of saving the life of the mother. So the chosen example was faulty at best.
Tuesday, June 25 2019
In the 2019 General Session of the 65 th Wyoming Legislature, Representative Richard Tass (R-Johnson/Sheridan) brought a bill to require physicians to wait 48-hours between the initial patient consultation and the actual performance of an abortion.
House Bill 140 had nine co-sponsors and passed the House 36-22-2, unamended. It was introduced in the Senate, and referred to the Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee, where it was not heard.
Almost half the states have a waiting period before a woman can receive an abortion. Nebraska and Idaho have 24-hour waiting periods. Utah and South Dakota have 72-hour waiting periods. Wyoming has no waiting period.
Arguments against this bill centered on the cost and inconvenience of women and girls who might have to travel to another Wyoming town to get an abortion if a waiting period were to be enacted. People who oppose a waiting period need to know that there is a lot of money, and
Just for starters, there’s the National Network of Abortion Funds. Click on a state and you’ll find the Woman’s Freedom Fund in Colorado. Or the Women for Women fund in Wyoming. Or, the Susan Wicklund Fund in Montana. Or, the Abortion Access Fund in Nebraska. Or, the South Dakota Access for Every Woman. SeeMSReproFreedom, a GoFundMe platform to help women get abortions in Mississippi.
All of these resources are available to support the financial and logistical needs of women wanting abortions. Extraordinary resources exist and are deployed to eliminate or minimize any conceivable inconvenience a woman might encounter on
Opponents of HB 140 also accused its sponsors and supporters of wanting to prevent abortions. They are entirely correct. The percentage of women and girls who feel pressured, or are forced, into an abortion is 64%. An ultrasound to age the baby is performed at the initial consultation. If a woman viewed the ultrasound, she would see the shape of her baby and his beating heart. It is, indeed, our hope that the ensuing 48 hours will cause her to ponder the reality of an abortion and change her mind. At that point, there are numerous resources available to mom both
Thursday, June 20 2019
Last year, I attended a Wyoming legislative committee hearing on an abortion bill. The debate had its “red herrings.” But, for a time, the discussion was very good.
At one point, a friend whispered to me, “I tend to agree with the person who speaks last.” He had noticed that, for the moment, debaters from both sides were right.
How so? Because each side was highlighting one of two distinct aspects of human rights; the right to exist and the right to personal autonomy (the right to live according to one’s own values).
Even though both religious and non-religious people support pro-existence laws, some people think such laws are about enshrining religion. This is why they can claim to be personally against abortion, but don’t support abortion restrictive legislation. They believe this is the abortion issue’s “middle-ground.”
The best arguments for autonomy reminded us that no one wants to be forced to live according to the values (or lack of values) of others.
Freedom is fundamental. But both sides can agree that it has limits.
For instance, religious freedom is specifically protected by the Constitution but it is not an absolute freedom. The state could not require church attendance, for example, without violating the First Amendment’s “establishment” clause.
But, whether values are religiously inspired or not isn’t the issue. For example, some people demonstrate by their actions that they have no objection to theft. Other people, both religious and non-religious do object to theft, and may object for different reasons. Regardless of one’s personal view or what informs that view, theft negatively impacts the life and autonomy of others. Therefore, it is outlawed for everyone.
Regardless of what one believes about abortion, or what informs that belief, the question many seem to ignore is, does abortion negatively impact the life and autonomy of another human being or not?
Today, YouTube has ultrasound videos of the preborn, moving, stretching and even yawning. I invite you to watch them. Look with your own eyes and ask, “Are these living, human beings?”
If you answer “no,” then you will perceive the estimated 120 yearly abortions happening within Wyoming’s borders one way.
But if your answer is “yes,” you will believe the same number of Wyomingites lose their right to exist, as well as their right to personal autonomy every year. You will see why “middle-ground” on the issue is an illusion.
Where the “Pro-Autonomy” Movement Falters
No doubt the “pro-autonomy” movement has its own list of grievances to file against its detractors. I will leave such a listing to them. Below, I list problematic areas in the movement’s efforts.
• It defies reason when it acts as if a developing human person doesn’t exist before full term delivery.
Does a child born prematurely “qualify” for human rights? At what point?
Seeing an expecting couple smoking cigarettes together would we pretend their decisions were not impacting another human being?
• It defies science when it compares the preborn to an organ like an appendix.
Our society claims to reject hate speech. Yet, it tolerates unscientific euphemisms like this which are designed to dehumanize. Such speech has led to far more abortions than simple legalization ever could have.
• It claims abortion is a “personal choice,” while, at best, remaining silent as others simultaneously seek to publicly fund abortions.
• It draws the debate down the “exceptions” rabbit hole without ever conceding to a single abortion restriction outside of those “exceptions.”
⦁It obstructs greater debate by claiming men should have no voice on the matter.
This has been very effective at silencing many men. One would think, however, that if the movement were serious about this claim, it would restrict its own testimony to the voices of only women. But it doesn’t. This inconsistency suggests the “pro-autonomy” movement doesn’t really have a problem with men weighing in on the issue. It just doesn’t like men who challenge its position.
⦁ It undervalues adoption.
• It doesn’t make an honest claim for when life begins. By extension, it refuses to identify the moment we become responsible for protecting human rights. If not from the beginning, then when? And why then?
Is it age of viability? Because given the pace of medical advancements, “viability” seems like an arbitrary, moving target.
Do human rights depend upon location? i.e. outside the womb, and beyond “my body?” Then why oppose legislation like the “Born Alive Abortion Survivor’s Protection Act” which Congress has failed to pass, no less than 50 times?
⦁ It fails to acknowledge that abortion law sets a dangerous human rights’ standard; only those who are “wanted” get government protection. Human rights either belong to everyone, or they are guaranteed to no one.
We must, without exception, do better to help women who find themselves in desperate situations and facing unexpected pregnancies. To turn away a woman in need is unconscionable. But we shouldn’t suggest that the intentional termination of another human being is ever an acceptable solution. How can we speak against violence, if we spend so much time excusing it?
Both sides may forever disagree about the government’s responsibility on this issue. Perhaps both sides can help each other do better at keeping the discussion honest.
Sunday, June 16 2019
In an environment where many are moving apart in their view of abortion, an item of agreement is that abortion is very personal.
Many women say that their body is personal and they will make decisions about their body. This includes the right to abort a baby for any reason they deem acceptable.
Abortion is also extremely personal for the baby. Those favoring abortion want to deny the baby is a human until birth. Recently, some are claiming a child who has been born is also fair game for losing their life. Either way, the decision to take that life is very personal.
My very personal involvement is that if my mom in 1948 was living in the present moral climate, I would have been an overwhelming choice for abortion. There were already two boys and a girl and dad was not involved in their lives except in negative ways.
He was well paid as a roughneck, but most of that money got spent on alcohol. He had little involvement in raising his three children, except to give them the “back of his hand” and keep them in constant fear of his temper.
After losing one job, he came home and broke out every window in the house. When angry at his sons, he threatened to kill them, causing them to run for their lives.
In the moral climate of 1948, abortion was not an action she considered. This was her child and even after dad left home, leaving her to raise four children alone, she did it with joy. Her daughter lived to run a dairy farm, two of her sons became attorneys and the other a pastor.
Early in her marriage, she knew that her husband was not a good father. Yet she choose to have all four children. All four of us and our families were delighted in the very personal decisions that gave us life and the ability to impact her and her world for good. Her children became the best part of her life and that can happen for you too if you choose life.
Monday, June 10 2019
As we celebrate this month, both our nation’s 243 birthday and Wyoming’s 150 years of statehood, let us be reminded of what our Founding Fathers gave us. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Founding Fathers recognized that certain rights are God given, not given by the government. So, they cannot be taken away by the government. Over the years, we have strayed from the ideals that were given to us by our Founding Fathers. Without malice or anger, let us remember the more than 60 million human beings who have been denied life. These children had no birth-day, were not able to experience Liberty, or pursue Happiness. For those women who feel at a loss because of their pregnancy, let’s commit ourselves to help them embrace Motherhood.
Lisa Provance, Cheyenne
Thursday, June 06 2019
Sharp Mary Birch Hospital, in San Diego, announced that “Baby Saybie” is going home. (Her actual name is being withheld at her parent’s request.) The University of Iowa’s Tiniest Baby Registry, lists her birthweight as 245 grams (8.6 ounces), about one fifteenth the size of an average newborn and twelve grams smaller than the previous record holder.
Saybie’s mother was 23 weeks and three days pregnant when she arrived at the ER. Diagnosed with preeclampsia, she underwent an emergency C-section. Doctors did not expect the baby to live out the hour, but five months later she went home. One nurse explained, “We do everything we can for each preemie, as well as we can, and after that, it’s really up to our babies.”
Few stories receive such universally positive treatment, but Saybie’s birth has been celebrated around the world on both sides of the aisle. That alone is a reason to cheer. She brought the world together in a singular narrative of life. The first striking thing about her story is that life remains a mystery. Despite modern medicine’s advancement, medical professionals know that there is a spiritual dimension to life. It remains a gift unattainable by human craft or random chance. We only have the power to protect what is given, but not to create or preserve it.
Saybie teaches something else as well. We are regularly told that abortion is sometimes necessary in order to save a mother’s life. This is false. Abortion is never prescribed to preserve the life of the mother. Her mother’s life-threatening condition did not require an abortion. She needed,
After her birth, all that medical science could do for Saybie was to approximate the womb. Her own body did the rest. Thus, she is a living, breathing embodiment of everything that America has been debating over the past four months. While Saybie was fighting for her life, America was involved in a screaming match about the unborn and our responsibilities relative to them and to their mothers.
While some were alleging that the unborn are only a blob of tissue, the doctors who extracted Saybie at 23 weeks found a fully formed human being who could breath, eat, cry and move.
While Ruth Bader Ginsberg is claiming that a woman is not a mother until her baby is born, Saybie’s mother was fighting for the life of her child before the C-section was performed. She was afraid that her daughter would not survive. This is a mother’s love in action, not the cold theories of an ideologue. Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) reinforced Roe v. Wade’s (1973) holding that after viability the State can regulate and even forbid abortion (Casey, p. 837).
Saybie puts a face on this ruling and shows that society’s responsibility to protect human life begins as early as 21 weeks and as small as 8.6 ounces. In spite of this, New York legalized abortions through the 40 th week and similar bills were introduced in Arizona, Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, Hawaii and Illinois. Most have failed, but some are still advancing. Meanwhile 50 attempts have been blocked to bring the “Born Alive Abortion Survivor’s Protection Act” to a vote. This is not an abortion bill. It humanely requires that “any health care practitioner present at the time the child is born alive shall exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same
People just like Saybie should have access to the same health care that Saybie had. We have the means to protect them. Federal law already recognizes them as persons protection under the Constitution. It is unjust to deprive them of the health care they deserve.
The world is celebrating the medical team that protected Saybie’s chance to live. Newspapers are publishing the photos of her face and telling the story of her miraculous survival. It’s worth telling. it uplifts all humanity by uplifting the smallest human.
Saturday, June 01 2019
To the Editor:
Abby went through a searing agony of soul, her conscience being pricked not only from within but also from her husband and parents and the ever-present cadre of protesters and sidewalk counselors whom she encountered each work day and especially on Saturdays when all the
The release of “Unplanned” was beset with roadblocks and obstacles from more, and (surprisingly) less, predictable sources. It was rated “R” for one reason only - violence. It realistically depicts both a surgical and a chemical abortion. Every abortion is an act of violence to both unborn children and their mothers. This is an important film about a critical and timely tragedy. People sensed this and flocked to theaters to witness it. Many thanks to the movie theaters that were open to the truth, ignored the obstructionists, and allowed moviegoers to learn about this compelling true story.