Wyoming women aren’t directed by men in how they vote

Submitted by Carrie I. Peters
Posted 4/18/23

Dear editor:

In response to Justine Larsen’s opinion piece from April 4, I’m left shaking my head for several reasons. I want to first make clear that Ms. Larsen is factually incorrect …

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Wyoming women aren’t directed by men in how they vote


Dear editor:

In response to Justine Larsen’s opinion piece from April 4, I’m left shaking my head for several reasons. I want to first make clear that Ms. Larsen is factually incorrect about the number of women currently serving in the Wyoming Legislature. She states that today there are “only eight women representatives” in the House and “only six” in the Senate. In truth, there are 13 women in the House, they are: Reps. Abby Angelos, Martha Lawley, Sandy Newsome, Ember Oakley, Pepper Ottman, Sarah Penn, Karlee Provenza, Trey Sherwood, Liz Storer, Tomi Strock, Tamara Trujillo, Jeanette Ward and Rachel Rodriguez-Williams. In the Wyoming Senate, there are seven women serving, they are: Sens. Evie Brennan, Affie Ellis, Lynn Hutchings, Stacy Jones, Tara Nethercott, Wendy Schuler and Cheri Steinmetz. Of the entire body, women presently compose about 22% of the lawmakers in the state. This number is certain to grow as the smart and strong women legislators of today inspire the next generation of young women.

While I do agree with Ms. Larsen on some of her points regarding the reasons why women were originally allowed the right to vote in this state, what I do not agree with are her unsupported attacks on the women of Wyoming who voted for or supported pro-life legislation this past session. Ms. Larsen makes clear her disdain towards such legislation, and she is entitled to her opinion on that, but what got my attention is that she appears to suggest that women who vote for pro-life laws “are not counted today to make choices for their own health and wellbeing,” and claims they are but mere puppets of men. This past session, the “Prohibiting Chemical Abortions” and “Life is a Human Right” bills were split along party lines when it came to the votes cast by the women. All seven women senators and 10 of the 13 women representatives voted in support of those bills. Why does Ms. Larsen think the pro-life votes by women are somehow connected to strings being pulled by men? To be blunt, not all women think that abortion should be considered a “right,” and believe it or not, those same women are perfectly capable of arriving at that conclusion without being coerced by men.

With regards to our female delegates in Congress, Ms. Larsen states that U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis and U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman “chose to not do a thing to benefit the women of Wyoming because whatever man is directing them won’t direct them to do that.” Wow, where is her evidence to make such a claim? I openly ask Ms. Larsen to please clarify why she concludes these two women are being controlled by men? Is she suggesting that because pro-life legislation in Wyoming has the “blessing of this state’s federal elected officials,” they are somehow being told to support such things by men? That is a very strange accusation and not a notion based in any sort of fact or reality. A person need only spend a few minutes with Sen. Lummis and Rep. Hageman to know that the last thing they are is being “directed by a man.” While I personally disagree with abortion and am solidly pro-life, I do not think that women who believe otherwise are secretly being “directed” by men… men that like the idea of abortion on demand so they can easily shirk any potential responsibility for their own actions... as you say Ms. Larsen, it “takes two to tango and make a new life.”

Ms. Larsen’s column very much belabors her opinion that women have less rights now than before they gained the right to vote. Ironically, one thing she did not mention, an issue that is quite easily one of the greatest threats to women’s rights in this day and age, is radical gender ideology. Wyoming took a clear stance on women’s rights this session with the “Student Eligibility in Interscholastic Sports” bill. This bill overwhelmingly passed both the House (51-10-1) and Senate (28-3). Of the 20 women currently serving, it was the three pro-choice women who voted against protecting the rights of girls and women in interscholastic sports. Their votes chose men over the protection, fairness, safety, and rights of young girls and women. All of the other women (and the vast majority of the men) in the Wyoming Legislature voted to protect girls and young women from the current invasion of males into female sports and spaces. In my observation of how each party voted on these two issues, I think it’s safe to say that it’s not the pro-life women that are potentially being controlled by men.

In our disagreements about politics, let’s not insult each other as women, regardless of which side of the political aisle we stand on.

Carrie I. Peters