Lawmakers fast-track abortion bills

Planned Parenthood rallied on the steps of the Capitol Tuesday
Lawmakers fast-track abortion bills
Planned Parenthood rally at Capitol

State lawmakers are fast-tracking a number of abortion-related bills at the Capitol, including one that had a vote delayed Tuesday.

The state Senate was scheduled to vote on a bill requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion is performed, but Democrats used a procedural move to delay a final vote.

“We’re not going to force [women] into stirrups and into an unnecessary medical procedure,” said Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee.

The bill, introduced just eight days ago, is supported by Wisconsin Right to Life, which says this will help women understand more about their unborn child.

“In abortion clinics when they show a diagram of the uterus to a woman, it is an empty uterus, and they don’t show the baby inside,” said Sue Armacost, legislative director for Wisconsin Right to Life. “That’s exactly what is being removed from her body and is going to be destroyed. And given that it is a member of the human family, she has a right to know what her baby looks like and what they will be removing from her body.”

The measure has drawn fire from Planned Parenthood, whose supporters rallied on the steps of the Capitol Tuesday. They say their doctors already suggest ultrasounds to patients before the procedure, but that this and other bills circulating in the legislature are infringing on women’s rights.

Lawmakers fast-track abortion bills

“The issue here is the legislature should not be requiring medical procedures for anybody,” said Nicole Safar, public policy director for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. “It’s not their job. Politicians shouldn’t be making health care decisions.”

But the author of the bill says they are making an important change to the state’s informed-consent law.

“We see a lot of abortion trauma and people regretting abortions,” said Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin. “What I’m saying here in this bill is to be sure that you’re fully informed, because when you make that decision, it’s a life or death decision and you can’t change your mind the next day.”

The Senate will take up this bill for a final vote Wednesday and the Assembly will consider it Thursday.

The Assembly will also debate a measure to not allow abortions to be covered by public-employee insurance Wednesday.

Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday he would sign the ultrasound bill.