Media Contact

Janna Farley,

February 28, 2024

As the future of abortion care in Wyoming remains undecided in the state’s ongoing legal battle over abortion access, some legislators are trying to push these reproductive health services out of reach with legislation that places burdensome and medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers and clinics with the goal of forcing them to shut down.

The ACLU of Wyoming opposes House Bill 148, legislation that would require clinics that provide surgical abortions in the state to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers and that doctors performing abortions there have admitting privileges at a hospital not more than 10 miles away. The Senate Labor, Health & Social Services Committee advanced this bill today.

“House Bill 148 takes a sneakier path to limiting abortion access than the two abortion bans that passed last year and the ‘trigger ban’ that passed the year before and are currently tied up in court,” said Antonio Serrano, ACLU of Wyoming advocacy manager. “By imposing regulations that sound technical and bureaucratic to a casual observer, they avoid widespread public scrutiny. But the regulations House Bill 148 would impose on abortion providers are costly and impossible to comply with. We urge lawmakers to reject this bill.”

The United States Supreme Court ruled in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, that medically unnecessary restrictions on doctors and clinics, like those House Bill 148, do not improve the health and safety of patients, are unconstitutional and should not be enforced.

Ambulatory surgical centers are health care facilities where surgical procedures that typically don’t require an overnight stay are performed. But abortion is a far safer procedure than those performed at most surgical centers, in part because abortion does not require an incision. Leading medical authorities like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association have affirmed abortion is one of the safest medical procedures with low complication rates.

Additionally, hospital admitting privileges are unnecessary. There is no medical basis to require abortion providers to have local hospital admitting privileges, according to the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Admitting privileges do not protect patients’ safety. Providers already have plans in case of emergencies, which are extremely rate. Moreover, admitting privileges are simply are a business arrangement between a local hospital and a physician and single out abortion providers. Other doctors do not have to meet these requirements.

“Patient care isn’t the purpose of House Bill 148,” Serrano said. “House Bill 148 is meant to close clinics down by forcing doctors to comply with regulations they can’t – and shouldn’t need – to meet.”

About the ACLU of Wyoming

The American Civil Liberties Union of Wyoming is a non-partisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU of Wyoming is part of a three-state chapter that also includes North Dakota and South Dakota. The team in Wyoming is supported by staff in those states.

The ACLU believes freedoms of press, speech, assembly, and religion, and the rights to due process, equal protection and privacy, are fundamental to a free people.  In addition, the ACLU seeks to advance constitutional protections for groups traditionally denied their rights, including people of color, women, and the LGBTQ communities. The ACLU of Wyoming carries out its work through selective litigation, lobbying at the state and local level, and through public education and awareness of what the Bill of Rights means for the people of Wyoming.