Governor vetoes abortion bill, signs ban on gender-affirming care for minors

Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill impacting trans youth, but vetoed another that would have regulated clinics that provide procedural abortions.
Kjera Griffith and her child, Augie Henrie, who identifies as gender fluid, hold up a Wyoming state flag in the pride colors in Jackson on Feb. 27. They were protesting legislation like the now law banning gender-affirming care for trans youth. (Hanna Merzbach/KHOL)

by | Mar 22, 2024 | Health, Politics & Policy

On Friday, Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill that will ban gender-affirming procedures for minors in Wyoming and vetoed another that would have placed regulations on clinics that provide procedural abortions.

House Bill 148 would have required clinics that provide abortions in Wyoming to be licensed as ambulatory surgical centers.

Gordon’s veto means Wyoming’s only clinic that provides procedural abortions in the state will be able to stay open, for now. 

The bill sponsor said the measure was meant to keep women safe when receiving abortions in the state.


But opponents believed this bill — similar to new laws in other states — would create onerous standards that would shut down clinics like the one in Casper, Wellspring Health Access.

“It has everything to do with promoting medical misinformation,” said Lynn Paltrow, an attorney and the founder of the group Pregnancy Justice. “And that misinformation being that this is a dangerous procedure that can’t be done safely in a clinic. We have 50 years of evidence that it can be.”

Wyoming has already passed a law banning abortions in most cases, but that’s held up by a court challenge. This week, a Teton County district judge referred the state’s abortion ban lawsuit to the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Gordon said House Bill 148 would have complicated that process, potentially delaying the court’s decision.

Also on Friday, Gov. Mark Gordon signed a bill that will ban gender-affirming procedures for minors in the state.

Jackson resident Mars William Silva waves a pink and blue flag — the transgender colors — in front of the Cowboy Bar near town square on Feb. 27, during a vigil for Nex Benedict, a nonbinary teenager who recently died in Oklahoma. Residents were also protesting what they see as anti-trans laws. (Hanna Merzbach/KHOL)

The legislation was previously known as “Chloe’s Law,” named after a de-transitioner activist from California.

The ban outlaws gender-affirming surgeries and other forms of care for those under 18 in the state, like puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

The gender-affirming surgeries that the ban prohibits are not performed in Wyoming, and most major medical associations oppose them regardless.

But physicians broadly agree that some forms of gender-affirming care can be helpful in reducing feelings of depression among transgender people. 

Wellspring Health Access, the abortion clinic in Casper, also provides trans patients with different kinds of gender-affirming care.

Brittany Brown is the clinic administrator there.

“We have (trans) patients who travel from all over the state to come in and get the health care that they need, because they either struggle to find doctors who are willing to do it for them, or just struggle to find doctors who are supportive of them,” said Brown.

She added that it was ironic that in the same legislative session that passed a bill affirming parental rights, lawmakers seemed to step in and say, “but not that one.”

“All the rights except the one about your child’s medical care,” Brown said.

In his reasoning for signing the bill, Gordon said he supports the protections this bill includes for children, but that “it is my belief that the government is straying into the personal affairs of families.”

This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, supporting state government coverage in the state. Wyoming Public Media and Jackson Hole Community Radio are partnering to cover state issues both on air and online.

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