Madison – March 16, 2012
A bill dictating how a woman consults with her doctor when seeking an abortion passed in the Wisconsin Assembly yesterday.
Dramatically titled the ‘Coercion and Webcam Abortion Prevention Act’, SB 306 was co-authored by Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) and Rep. Michelle Litjens (R-Oshkosh). As Rebecca Kemble noted in her recent article, “Practically speaking, the bill increases already lengthy pre-abortion counseling requirements, promotes state-funded advertising for religious anti-abortion organizations, and increases legal liability for physicians who provide abortions.”
The bill is backed by Wisconsin Catholic Conference, Pro-Life Wisconsin, Wisconsin Family Action and Wisconsin Right to Life. These same groups also promoted and lobbied for SB 92 which allows insurance companies to deny coverage for abortions, and SB 237, the repeal of the Healthy Youth Act. SB 306 requires that only a physician can inform a woman of her right to refuse or consent to an abortion, and it prohibits a woman from having a partner, family member or friend at her side when she meets with her doctor to request an abortion. A physician could be charged with a Class I felony for failing to comply with the new law. The bill also prevents physicians from consulting with patients via webcam when prescribing abortion-inducing drugs, something that is currently done in neighboring states to meet the needs of women living in rural areas. According to the bill, a woman who has an abortion will be required to return to the same facility for a follow-up visit, rather than being allowed to receive the care from her primary physician.
Lisa Subek, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice, testified in opposition to SB 306 at the December 13 hearing. She stated that it “imposes new and unnecessary barriers for women seeking safe and legal abortion care and is yet another example of politicians interfering with decisions that should be made privately between a woman and her doctor.
As Kemble noted in her article, “The basic premise of SB 306 is that women can’t be trusted to think and choose for themselves, and that even when they do choose abortion for themselves, the presumption is that they are being coerced into that choice by a more powerful person.”
Ironically, early Wednesday morning, the Assembly passed SB 237 — the repeal of the Healthy Youth Act. Seen as more evidence of the War on Women, SB 237 is described as, “a bill that restricts teenagers’ access to medically accurate information about human sexuality. The bill will destroy what some characterize as the “gold standard” for human sexuality education in public schools by eliminating all references to contraception, and requires schools to teach that abstinence is the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Rep. Mark Pocan says the Republican Party in Wisconsin is taking women back to pre-1920. During his floor speech on SB 306 on Friday, he stated, “This sort of unbelievably regressive thinking is an assault to literally every forward-minded person in Wisconsin.”
Rep. Janet Bewley rails against republicans for law that invades delivery of medical care.
During the floor debate, Rep. Kelda Roys prososes a ‘rectal exams for men’ amendment to “coerced” abortion bill.