November 27, 2012 — Wisconsin's largest antiabortion-rights group, Wisconsin Right to Life, hopes to capitalize on Republican control of the Legislature and governorship to push through a number of abortion restrictions in the next legislative session, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Details of Proposed Bills
One bill would require a woman to undergo an ultrasound and view the image before having an abortion. If the proposal becomes law, Wisconsin would be the only state to require a woman to look at the image; the other eight states that require an ultrasound allow a woman to look away. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the ultrasound procedure could add between $50 and $250 to the cost of an abortion.
A second bill would ban abortion beginning around 20 weeks, based on the disputed belief that some fetuses can feel pain at that point. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has said that scientific evidence shows that fetuses cannot feel pain at that point in development.
Another bill would prohibit state employees from using state health care plans to cover abortion services, and a fourth bill would bar sex-selective abortion.
Several Wisconsin lawmakers have already expressed support for some or all of the four bills that Wisconsin Right to Life has proposed. Although Gov. Scott Walker (R) has not yet met with Wisconsin Right to Life, his spokesperson said that the governor is "pro-life" (Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/24).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.