Abortion rights supporters urge Wisconsin lawmakers to scrap bills

Wisconsin State Capitol, Madison

Supporters of abortion rights urged legislators Thursday, Oct. 7 to scrap Republican-authored bills that would prohibit abortions based on fetal characteristics and force doctors to care for babies born as a result of botched abortions.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported that abortion rights activists told the Assembly health committee during a hearing that the bills would limit access to abortion and women's health care. They called the bills "dangerous" and "extreme."

Pro-life advocates countered that the bills would stop a modern form of eugenics and preserve life.

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The first bill would prohibit abortions based on a fetus' race, gender or health. The second bill would require doctors care for children born as a result of botched abortions; violators could face up to six years in prison.

The health committee considered several other abortion-related bills Thursday. One would require doctors to tell women planning to have abortions induced by a drug regimen that she could still change her mind after ingesting the first dose and may still be able to continue the pregnancy.

Another would require hospitals and clinics to provide the state with more data about abortions they perform and yet another would reduce public funding to abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood by preventing BadgerCare, the state's health insurance program for the poor, from covering services at such facilities.

The bills come as abortion rights supporters are concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that essentially legalized abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb.

The proposals before the health committee have been bouncing around in the Legislature since the last session, when Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed them. Evers is almost certain to veto any abortion restrictions that reach his desk this session as well and Republican lawmakers don't have enough votes to override him.

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