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Continued: Republicans shut down debate, pass bill requiring ultrasounds for women seeking abortions

  • Article by: SCOTT BAUER , Associated Press
  • Last update: June 12, 2013 - 5:25 PM

Democrats spent about 2 1/2 hours debating the bill on Tuesday. They could have debated longer then but chose not to, Fitzgerald said in an interview Wednesday. Tuesday's debate ended amicably after no senator indicated they wanted to speak again.

Fitzgerald said he offered Democrats about 30 more minutes of debate on Wednesday. Larson said he turned it down because he viewed the offer as "flimsy" and Republicans wanted Democrats to "shut up" when the time ran out.

Republicans instead employed a Senate rule that allows them to cut off debate.

"I wish we didn't have this kind of trouble," Ellis said in an interview later. "These are my friends but they've got to live by the rules."

In addition to requiring an ultrasound, the bill would also mandate that an abortion provider have the authority to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles of where the abortions are performed. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said that provision would require it to close its clinic in Appleton, leaving just three clinics in Madison and Milwaukee where abortions are performed.

Any facility that provides free ultrasounds would have to make both abdominal and the more intrusive transvaginal ultrasounds available.

Anti-abortion groups in Wisconsin supported the bill, while the Medical Society of Wisconsin and other medical organizations opposed it.

The Assembly planned to take up two other abortion-related bills, in addition to the ultrasound measure, on Thursday. One would ban using taxpayer money to cover abortions in public employees' health insurance plans. The other would ban abortions for the purpose of gender selection.

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