By Bethany Janzen, SFLA Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator
From the start of the legislative session in January, students in Wyoming were watching the pro-life bills as they were introduced and started moving through the Wyoming legislature. But they weren’t just watching. They were also acting.
Just a bit of background: In late January, I spoke at the Cheyenne March for Life. Afterwards, Wyoming Representative Chuck Gray introduced himself and told me about the ultrasound/heartbeat bill he was introducing this session. The bill had to overcome many hurtles.
Although Rep. Gray anticipated that it would pass the House, the Senate was doubtful, and the Governor – well, no pro-life bill had ever reached his desk, so many doubts remained on that score. I told him that I would encourage our Wyoming student leaders to lobby for the bill!
Many students and families emailed their legislators multiple times each week, asking them to vote YES on HB0116 and HB0182 – the ultrasound bill. Many students came to committee meetings and testified in favor of these bills, especially from the University of Wyoming, Laramie County Community College (LCCC), and the Cheyenne Homeschool community. Students from other schools further away – like Douglas High School – wrote their legislators.
The bills had to overcome more than just hurdles over the past six weeks. They could have been killed in any one of those stages. But pro-life students were praying and publicly making their voice heard through each step. At times the testimony of the opposition seemed very hostile and formidable.
It was really a spiritual battle, according to Ruby Johnson, a Cheyenne community mobilizer who worked with many of the students.
“We prayed, ‘Lord, we will not win this because of our ability to counter the opposition. We are weak. We can win this only by Your mercy and Your grace.’”
Because of the students’ efforts, they were invited to the Governor’s bill signing on Thursday afternoon in Cheyenne. Students from University of Wyoming Students for Life, LCCC Students for Life, and Cheyenne Homeschool Students for Life wore “I AM THE PRO-LIFE GENERATION” t-shirts during the bill signing.
After the sponsors of these bills and various pro-life organizations addressed the Governor, Christie Johnson (LCCC Students for Life president) thanked Governor Mead, on behalf of Students for Life, for supporting these bills which would protect future generations and our preborn.
March 9th, 2017 will be remembered as a landmark day for the Wyoming pro-life movement. On it, Wyoming’s first pro-life bill in 28 years was signed into law. Wyoming students made history.