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House panel votes down abortion bill

Jan 29, 2013 - The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- A bill that would have banned abortions in Wyoming after a fetus had developed a detectable heartbeat failed Monday in a legislative committee.

The House Labor Health and Social Services on Monday voted 5-to-3 against a bill sponsored by Rep. Kendell Kroeker, R-Evansville.

Experts say that the bill would have banned abortions after about the sixth week of pregnancy. Abortions currently are available to women in the state until about the 19th week.

The proposal brought more than two hours of frequently emotional testimony from both supporters and opponents.

Rep. Sue Wallis, R-Recluse, told the committee that she decided to have an abortion after her first marriage dissolved. She said she faced the prospect of losing custody of her three children if she underwent what promised to be a difficult pregnancy.

"The notion that protected human life begins at the moment of conception is some religious sects' interpretation, certainly not mine," Wallis said.

No other person, not even a woman's husband, has a right to dictate to a woman what she does with her body, Wallis said. "That is a fundamental tenant of freedom."

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Legislature, Wyoming