MADISON, Wis. - A state legislative committee has approved two Republican-backed bills that would make it harder and more expensive to get an abortion in Wisconsin.
One proposal from Rep. Andre Jacque would exempt certain religious organizations and employers from having to provide health insurance coverage for contraceptives and prohibit the use of public money to pay for abortion coverage in public employees' health insurance plans.
The other proposal from Rep. Steve Kestell would ban abortion for gender selection.
Critics said the proposals are just "the tip of the iceberg" as anti-abortion groups continue to push for restrictions. But proponents argued the state shouldn't pay for things that violate some people's moral values.
Both measured passed the Assembly Health Committee on party line votes Wednesday.
Also out of the capitol are possible changes for doctors who administer abortions and women seeking abortions.
The plans require a woman getting an abortion to have the option of an ultrasound and doctors would have to arrange for an ultrasound before performing the procedure.
The bill specifies that women can look away from the images.
Planned Parenthood officials say they are already offering ultrasounds.
"As it is written, current statute requires physicians to offer it, and describe it, and feel a fetal heart beat if there is one," said Nicole Safar, Planned Parenthood public policy director.
Barbara Sella, associate director for respect life and social concerns with the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, said "It should be standard care that women who go to a clinic see medical records and get medically accurate information from their doctor so they can make fully informed decisions."
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