It felt like one vote after another against women.
First the news that HB0103 Abortion reporting requirements would be sent to committee. Then the news that HB0140 Abortions - 48 hour waiting period would be heard on the floor. Then the presentation of SF0128 Unborn victims of violence act in committee which came with the explicit explanation that those of us who might think that the bill has anything to do with the legal right to terminate a pregnancy or that fertilized eggs are not endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights were just not reading the bill right. Then the news that HB0103 would be heard at a special committee meeting tomorrow morning at 8am. Then the passage of HB0140 on the House Floor (by three slim votes).
It felt relentless.
It felt contradictory: Didn't they just tell us yesterday that for HB0200 Wyoming pregnant workers fairness act which asks employers to make small accommodations for pregnant workers (for example, let them bring their water bottle onto the retail floor or have extra bathroom breaks) would be unfairly burdensome on employers and represent overreach with the potential for unintended consequences? Yet today they're saying that they need to pass a new law (that replicates penalties already in statute) to ensure the protection of pregnant women?
And yet women stood up and shared personal stories. Traveled long distances to participate in our state's legislative process. Offered testimony to shore up the few rights that women have in Wyoming. Made clear that these decisions cannot be made without us. Recognized how important it is to have women at the table when legislation is drafted. In short, we spent the day with a badass crew of women. Women who embody the maxim, "Be the change you want to see in the world." Thanks to them, we see it. We know it is possible.
So there is cause for optimism.
Tomorrow, we'll get up and do it again. And we hope that you will, too. Because there are plenty of things to fight on and for. In this case, they start at 8am tomorrow morning. Here's the hit list for the day (this is just for Thursday; there will be more for Friday). If you can spare a minute to spread the word around the state, and, as always, to write and call your reps:
HB0103 Abortion reporting requirements - House Labor/Health -- OPPOSE
HB0107 Parental rights sexual assault -- House Judiciary -- SUPPORT
HB0140 Abortion - 48 hour waiting period -- House, second reading - OPPOSE
SF0128 Unborn victims of violence act -- Senate Judiciary - OPPOSE
SF0144 Medicaid and SNAP eligibility requirements -- Senate, first reading - OPPOSE
And, if we're lucky, a little Medicaid Expansion. (That committee is ongoing at this hour...)
ps--There are talking points on our home page for reference!
Update: Medicaid Expansion cleared the committee by a vote of 6-3!