Committees begin hearing on 20-week abortion ban

MADISON — Wisconsin's health committees have begun a joint hearing about a fast-tracked bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Under the bill, doctors who perform an abortion after 20 weeks in non-emergency situations could be charged with a felony and subject to up to $10,000 in fines or 3½ years in prison.

At a press conference Tuesday, Sen. Mary Lazich, a New Berlin Republican, said the ban is "on par with partial-birth abortions" because a fetus aborted after 20 weeks can feel pain.

As written, it doesn't provide an exception for pregnancies due to rape or incest. The bill also requires that physicians performing abortions in situations in which the mother's life is in danger do so in a way most likely to ensure the child's survival.