Among the bills that were considered today was a so-called “Born Alive Bill.” That legislation would compel doctors to provide care to a baby that is born after a failed abortion.
Democratic critics say the legislation is unnecessary. A baby being born following a failed abortion is an extremely rare event.
And, doctors in Wisconsin can already be prosecuted for allowing a child to die.
The bill carries with it heavy repercussions, including life in prison.
Other than the born-alive bill, the Assembly’s Health Committee weighed eight other abortion-related pieces of legislation today.
Those bills would, among other things, mandate informed consent around abortion-inducing drugs, inform parents about congenital conditions of the fetus and require caregivers to report so-called selective abortions to the state.
According to the bill’s authors, selective abortions are when parents consider the sex of the fetus and and any disability it may have when weighing an abortion.
All of the testimony at the hearing was in favor of the bills, with some recommendations to amend the bills to make them more restrictive.
Gracie Skogman, Legislative Director of Wisconsin Right to Life believes that many of these bills are about informing woman of the risks associated with abortions. In the case of abortion- inducing drugs, she states, “Women have have a right to know about the drugs they ingest in the chemical abortion procedure.”
State Representative Barbara Dittrich, a sponsor of the bill relating to educational resources surrounding congenital conditions, felt strongly that these should be provided to expectant parents. “While medical information can and does definitely keep expectations low for diagnostic outcomes, it at least sets a floor under those in the freefall of a journey they may not have anticipated,” she said.
Prior to the hearing, State Representative Lisa Subeck – a Democrat from Madison – along with two doctors to voice their opposition to the bills.
Dr. Kristin Lyerly is an OB-GYN in Green Bay. She says compassion and individual needs were left out of the package. Lyerly goes on to say that, “No politician can legislate that kind of care. That kind of care; the right care is individualized, it’s compassionate, it’s thoughtful, and it is entirely absent from the bills we are talking about today.”
She says the bills do not meet the needs of the women and families of Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin section of the American College of Obstetrician Gynecologist posed a letter today to the Assembly Committee on Health. In it, the authors denounced the rhetoric used in the bills, saying they spread false, inflammatory, and dangerous information to undermine public trust in OBGYNS.
The package is slated for a committee vote next week. If the bills they pass there, they’ll head to the full Assembly for a final vote. A companion Born Alive bill was passed in the State Senate last month. Other abortion related bills in the packager are making their way through the Senate..
If the bills pass in both chambers, they face a near-certain veto from Governor Tony Evers.
The committee also heard two additional bills today. One would prohibit discrimination in organ transplantation on the basis of disability. Another would allow pharmacists to prescribe certain contraceptives.
Image Courtesy: Brian Stading/WORT