principal pre-Roe statutes prohibited performance of
an abortion on a pregnant woman unless the procedure was “necessary
to preserve her life,” and
made a woman’s participation in her own abortion a criminal
offense “except when necessary for the purpose of saving the
life of the mother or the child.” Pursuant
to Roe, the statutes were declared unconstitutional
by the Wyoming Supreme Court in Doe v. Burk, and
were later repealed. The
repealed pre-Roe statutes would not be revived by a
decision overruling Roe v. Wade. Abortions could be
performed for any reason before viability, and depending upon
how the post-viability statute is interpreted, for virtually
any reason thereafter.
Wyo. Stat. § 6-77 (1957).
Id. § 6-78
(1957). No prosecutions under reported under this statute.
643 (Wyo. 1973).
Sess. Laws 11, 14, ch. 11, § 2.
Wyoming’s post-viability statute, see Wyo.
Stat. Ann. § 35-6-102 (Michie 2003), does not restrict
the reasons for which an abortion may be performed after
viability to reasons relating to the pregnant woman’s physical health,
it probably would allow post-viability abortions for reasons
of the woman’s mental health, as well. There are
few, if any, abortions that could not be justified on such
grounds. As the experience in California demonstrated,
mental health exceptions were widely abused. See People
v. Barksdale, 503 P.2d 257, 265 (Cal. 1972) (noting
that more than 60,000 abortions were reported in 1970,
more than 98% of which were performed for alleged reasons
of mental health).