Politicians need to ground arguments in facts

Submitted by Todd Johnson
Posted 5/14/24

Dear editor:

There has always been a theatrical component to the arena of politics. However, after reading the most recent editorial by Cody Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams (“Abortion is a …

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Politicians need to ground arguments in facts


Dear editor:

There has always been a theatrical component to the arena of politics. However, after reading the most recent editorial by Cody Rep. Rachel Rodriguez-Williams (“Abortion is a public health crisis and the chief executive enables it”), constituents must wonder if she’s pursuing a Pulitzer Prize for fiction writing or actively propagating a viewpoint so bereft of quantitative analysis that it can’t be taken seriously.

The issue of abortion is an incredibly difficult topic to navigate and one which encompasses the spectrum of human emotions. That’s why it’s imperative when the subject is broached in the public forum, elected officials must strive to treat the subject with respect and acknowledge the other side of the issue, especially since the reversal of Roe v. Wade in June 2022 overturned nearly 50 years of precedent.

Rather than constructing a well thought out argument which elevates the discourse on this contentious topic, Rep. Rodriguez-Williams’ column is a regurgitation of Wyoming Freedom Caucus (WFC) sound bites, ad hominem arguments and querulous comments about Gov. Gordon.

Three times in her piece she uses the term “abortion mill,” referring to one clinic in Wyoming which offers services, and says the facility is contributing to a “public health crisis.” Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Based off the last census, there are approximately 287,377 women living in Wyoming. For the year 2022, the Department of Health reported 200 abortions in the state (127 residents, 72 non-residents, and one unknown) while a telemedicine provider which assists Wyoming women reported the figure to be in the neighborhood of 400. Taking the higher number, this means that approximately .0013% of Wyoming women are choosing to have an abortion.

Nowhere in her column does she provide any analysis to back her claims of abortion being a public health crisis.

Instead, the reader is treated to a word salad of personal opinions not grounded in reality. And her claim that because the governor’s veto raises, “…concerns about the need for the need for Wyoming to return to our three-branch system of government” shows a fundamental lack of understanding of checks and balances.

Her comments about the governor implementing his veto power on House Bill 148 are the equivalent of a child crying about spilled milk. The fact is your own party’s leadership didn’t deem it necessary to hold a special session on anything outside of SF 54. Just because you didn’t get your way doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the system. It simply means you and the Freedom Caucus were outmaneuvered by members of your own Republican Party.

Unfortunately, Rep. Rodriguez-Williams’ column is yet another example of a public servant who is more concerned with getting attention versus paying attention to the real issues that affect House District 50 and the state of Wyoming. Things like access to public lands, energy leasing on federal lands, and supporting business opportunities which will encourage the next generation of Wyomingites to stay in the state.

Only time will tell if our local politicians will continue to pursue agendas of their own making, focused on accruing power and dividing people instead of being purveyors of a sacred trust which can make the lives of all citizens better.

Let us hope it’s the latter and not the former.

Todd Johnson