A Wyoming Republican Party social media post conflating abortion with school shootings gained traction on Facebook last week.
It stated, “Planned Parenthood killed more children today before 9 a.m., than any school shooting in American history. Paid for with your taxes.”
Posted May 22, it has since been shared over 1,700 times and generated 100-plus comments. Despite multiple calls, the party could not be reached for comment.
In a not altogether rare move, the Teton County Republican Party broke from party lines and condemned the post.
“That Facebook post is unnecessary, unfortunate and untrue,” Chairman Alex Muromcew said. “Teton County Republicans is certainly more moderate than other parts of the state, and that’s certainly reflected in issues like these.”
He noted that the local party’s pillars include fiscal responsibility and private-sector solutions, conservation and responsible stewardship and respect and compassion for individual freedoms. The post, Muromcew said, isn’t in agreement with that third pillar.
Gov. Mark Gordon’s office declined to take a position.
“Governor Gordon supports the responsible use of social media platforms, but has no involvement with the social media posts of the Wyoming Republican Party,” a statement reads. “He has no comment on either the message or the accuracy of this post.”
Saying abortions are paid for with taxpayer dollars is misleading. The Hyde Amendment, attached to congressional appropriations bills yearly, bars the use of federal Medicaid funds to pay for abortions. Medicaid is a joint state and federal program that provides health coverage to low-income people. There are three exceptions — when the abortion is “necessary to save the life of the woman” or when the pregnancy results from rape or incest.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, Wyoming is one of 34 states and the District of Columbia that follow this federal standard. Neighboring South Dakota does not.
States can use their funds to cover other medically necessary abortions, usually defined by states as those to protect the physical or mental health of the woman, for Medicaid beneficiaries. Fifteen states have a policy that directs Medicaid to pay for these cases — five voluntarily, 10 because of a court order.
This is not the first time the local GOP has split from its statewide counterparts. The party supported the town of Jackson’s nondiscrimination ordinance that passed in 2018, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, while the state party sent someone here to testify in opposition.
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains also spoke out against the recent post.
“Extremists who oppose Planned Parenthood’s mission and services made completely false claims intended to deceive the public,” said a statement from Neta Meltzer, strategic communications manager. “Planned Parenthood is the largest, most trusted provider of sexual and reproductive health care in the country. We’re proud to be a resource for compassionate care and over a century’s worth of expertise, empowered by the generous support of communities and donors like you.”
There are no Planned Parenthood health centers in Wyoming. But the Wyoming GOP post comes on the heels of a May 21 protest in Teton County.
Close to 50 people gathered on Town Square to protest the recent abortion bans in Mississippi and Alabama. The Stop the Bans protest was organized by Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains and Chelsea’s Fund, and was part of the National Day of Action to Stop the Bans that took place across the United States.
The post also comes at a time where social media is used to distort reality for political gain across the country. A recent high profile viral example includes an altered video of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, edited to slur her words.