Pro-life Wyoming

Reading that Wyoming is the first state in the US to ban the sale of pills to induce an abortion, I stopped short.  Wyoming?    I know virtually nothing about Wyoming apart from its location in the high American west.   But in my imagination it is a state of vast plains, mountains and ranches, a landsape populated with thousands of moving heads of cattle herded by cowboys with wide hats and smart boots.   Do they have women there?

As a child in the 50s and 60s, my daily evening and Saturday afternoon television viewing was filled with American cowboy shows.  The Lone Ranger, Rawhide, Have Gun will Travel, Champion the Wonder Horse, Lassie, Bonanza,  The High Chapparal, Cheyenne, Fury, Gunsmoke (retitled Gun Law for the UK), The Virginian, Wells Fargo, Gunslinger … I can still hear their themes:

Gunslinger, ride on,

Gunslinger, ride on,

Gunslinger, ride away.

The predominant character in most of these series was the lone male, although in some (such as Bonanza) the figure was the patriarch of the ranch.  But women were definitely in a minority.  They were the herder’s dream as he crossed the plain:

All the things I’m missin’

Good viddles, love and kissin’

Are waitin’ at the end of my ride.

The rider was a figure of masculine loneliness and liberty, so it is initially hard to think of Wyoming as a state concerned with policing women’s bodies – but not surprising, given the complex meanings given to gender and sexuality in contemporary USA.   Ron de Santis, governor of Florida, has recently blamed the failure of the Silicon Valley Bank on diversity initiatives.  “They’re so concerned with (diversity, equity and inclusion) and politics and all kinds of stuff. I think that really diverted from them focusing on their core mission,” he told Fox News.  Making money requires masculine enterprise untrammelled by concerns for equality.   But Florida, with an economy based on agriculture, tourism, real estate and retirement,  has little similarity with the mythical American west, unless we consider its recent history of mass shootings. 

Georgia is arguably different.   Its craziest Trump-following politician, Marjorie Taylor Greene, has recently claimed that electric cars are emasculating the American way of driving.  In “Georgia on my Mind”, Ray Charles finds “peace …  girly”, and the state boasts Billy the Kid as a folk hero.  But abortion law in Georgia is currently much contested.  During Georgia’s November U.S. Senate contest between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, two women accused Walker, who opposes abortion, of paying for them to have the procedure.   The state seems poised between gender-related concepts of freedom and liberty. 

But Wyoming?   Its very name conjures cattle and cowboys roaming over wide open plains.  It may be a while before Wyoming women stake their claim on the reproductive frontier.   


5 thoughts on “Pro-life Wyoming

  1. Wyoming was the 1st state to give women the right to vote. One of few islands worldwide where women had suffrage.
    As far as “policing women’s bodies” one might consider that the people living inside the women’s bodies are our weakest, completely defenseless, and particularly, they are voiceless citizens. They have bodies too, science shows them to be human, nothing else. Someone should speak for them. It is a difficult social argument.
    One might also consider that abortion laws in the United States are among the most liberal- or Draconian, depending on who you are- worldwide. Limiting abortion brings them closer to the norm, not further away.
    Further, an enormous majority of those not given a chance to live happen to be members of the minority population, a group this society is falling all over itself to prove that it values and wants to give free and equal treatment to. Just an interesting fact.
    So, this debate shall continue and misinformation is often part of “winning” a political debate.. I simply hope to bring relevant facts to people’s attention as they make a decision where they stand.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It was the law-abiding and patriotic Republicans of Wyoming that voted Mary Cheney out in a landslide. The wretched woman had held a traitor to account and exposed him as a violent liar and instigator of the January 6th mob .

    It is amusing (somewhat) to compare one’s childhood imaginings (based on the stuff we were fed on TV and film) with reality. That mythical, lone, hard-riding maverick is actually a misogynist white supremacist.

    Interesting too, to consider the quite looney one from Georgia and the presidential hopeful from Florida. The latter is obviously an opportunist without any moral compass or imagination beyond his own ambition. However – he is on to something with the attacks on DEI/EDI. First of course it taps into the resentments of those who feel these are an attack on them. But in the way those initiatives sometimes play out there is a chilling effect on freedom of expression, intellectual inquiry, and debate.

    If swallowed without chewing, identity politics and social justice ideology trump merit and exploration. This does not bode well in medicine, for example, where following science sometimes takes a back seat to checking off the boxes. I’ve been grappling with this: “In defense of merit in science” (you can download the Pdf at ) and following up with all the references. It’s given me a lot to think about.


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