Correction: Wisconsin Abortion story

  • Updated: June 14, 2013 - 11:45 AM

MADISON, Wis. — In a story June 13 about a package of Republican abortion bills, The Associated Press erroneously reported Rep. Andre Jacque's party affiliation. He is a Republican, not a Democrat.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Wis. Assembly approves anti-abortion bills

Wisconsin Assembly approves anti-abortion package

By TODD RICHMOND

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Assembly Republicans approved a package of bills Thursday designed to make it more difficult to get abortions in Wisconsin, joining a renewed conservative drive to impose tougher restrictions on the procedure nationwide.

One bill would require pre-abortion ultrasounds and require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at an area hospital. Another measure would prohibit the state health insurance from covering abortions as well as exempt religious organizations from providing insurance coverage for contraceptives. A third bill would ban abortions based on the fetus' sex.

Minority Democrats railed against the proposals for hours Thursday, accusing the GOP of trying to dictate women's medical care and score points with the conservative base.

"I can't believe you're using women's health as a tool for your next election," said Rep. Christine Sinicki, D-Milwaukee.

Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, insisted the GOP's motives are sincere.

"We truly believe what we're doing is protecting life," she said. "It isn't about politics."

Republicans hold an overwhelming majority in the Assembly and easily passed each bill. The state Senate approved the ultrasound-admitting privileges bill on Wednesday; the Assembly vote sent the measure to Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has said he will sign it into law.

The other bills now go to the Senate. Republican leaders in that house say they're focused on finishing the state budget before the Legislature adjourns for its summer recess and they likely won't get to the proposals until fall. Walker supports both measures.

Most of the debate centered on the ultrasound-admitting privileges bill. The proposal would require every woman seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound. The technician would have to point out the fetus' visible organs and external features to the woman. Abortion providers would to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.

The bill's chief Assembly sponsor, Rep. Pat Strachota, R-West Bend, said the ultrasound provision is designed to help the woman bond with the fetus by seeing it and convince her to save it. As for the admitting privileges, she said they're meant to ensure an abortion provider can follow up with a patient at the hospital if there's an emergency.

Democrats complained Republicans shouldn't force women to undergo any medical procedure.

"I'm appalled, just appalled, you feel your morals, what your church dictates on you, have to play out in my life," Rep. Sondy Pope, D-Cross Plains, said.

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