CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Gov. Matt Mead signed into law Wyoming's first restrictions on abortion in nearly 30 years Thursday after one of the biggest Republican majorities in the Legislature in state history approved the measures by wide margins.
Doctors will need to tell women seeking abortions in Wyoming they're entitled to see an ultrasound of the fetus before going forward with the procedure. Another law prohibits using tissues from aborted fetuses for experimentation.
Mead did not comment before signing the bills but received thanks from some of the several dozen abortion opponents who took part in the signing ceremony. They included several students wearing red "I am the pro-life generation" t-shirts.
Similar measures have failed to clear the Legislature several times in recent years.
"It's been a long time coming," Randy Rhodes, president of Right to Life-Laramie County, told Mead.
Wyoming's abortion laws ranked among the less restrictive in the U.S. but will now be among the more restrictive. Some states, such as Oklahoma, will continue to have many more restrictions on abortion after Wyoming's new laws take effect July 1.
Three facilities in Wyoming provide abortions. Wyoming's previously enacted abortion law, passed in 1989, requires any minor seeking an abortion to have parental permission.
Opponents of the new laws include Democratic state Rep. Mike Gierau, of Jackson, who said they will have little effect on the prevalence of abortion.
"I don't think we've moved the ball anywhere down the field at all. I think we've just polarized the situation just a little bit more," Gierau said.
Rather than spend several hours debating the bills, lawmakers could have done more to reduce abortion by using that time to talk to children about abstinence and contraception, Gierau said.
"Instead, we've got two sides, the pro-choice side that I'm on, and the other side, just butting heads," said Gierau.
The fetus ultrasound bill passed the House 41-17 and the Senate 20-10. The fetal tissue bill cleared the House 48-11 and the Senate 20-10.
Republicans dominate the Wyoming Senate 27-3 and the House 51-9.
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