Abortion Bill Sara Finger

Ahead of Wednesday's Senate floor session, Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health Sara Finger highlights a bill to repeal Wisconsin's nearly universal ban on abortion, which is currently unenforceable but still on the books in the state. 

The Wisconsin Senate on Wednesday is poised to take up four abortion-related bills, legislation Gov. Tony Evers has already pledged to veto if it crosses his desk.

The bills include the "born alive" legislation that would require care be administered to infants who survive an abortion attempt. It and the other three cleared the full Assembly last month over opposition from Democrats. 

They're scheduled to be taken up on the Senate floor Wednesday, in spite of Evers' veto promise, which came in a tweet a few weeks ago. 

"We shouldn’t be limiting the right for women to make their own healthcare decisions," Evers wrote.

In addition to the "born alive" bill, the others would bar Planned Parenthood from getting money under the Medical Assistance program; ban abortions on the basis of a fetus' race and other qualifiers; and require doctors to tell women considering taking an abortion-inducing drug the process could be reversed.

Republicans argue the legislation would expand protections for fetuses and babies, make more information available to mothers and bar discrimination. But Democrats counter the bills would limit women's health care options and are unnecessary.  

Rep. Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, introduced a bill ahead of this week's floor session that would repeal Wisconsin's nearly universal ban on abortions, which is currently unenforceable due to Roe v. Wade but still on the books in the state. 

“Providing abortion is health care, not criminal activity,” she told reporters Tuesday, adding: “As legislators, it is our role to ensure access to safe and affordable health care, not interfere with private medical decisions.”

Meanwhile, three of the bills to be considered on Wednesday are carrying amendments from one GOP senator. That includes a proposed change to the "born alive" bill that would open up the language to allow mothers to be prosecuted. 

The bill's current language outlines punishments for physicians who fail to provide care to abortion survivors, including a felony charge with up to six years of jail time, though mothers have immunity. 

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The amendment, from Sen. Andre Jacque, R-De Pere, would replace the immunity clause and insert language saying a parent or guardian couldn't be held civilly or criminally responsible for violations they didn't consent to. 

Jacque, who voted against the bill in committee after his amendment wasn't considered, said in a statement at the time that the legislation in its current form "would damage existing protections for born-alive infants."

A similar amendment introduced to the Assembly version of the bill by Rep. Chuck Wichgers, R-Muskego, wasn't supported in committee, leading to Wichgers joining Dems in opposing the bills both then and later on the chamber's floor. 

Jacque's other amendments are attached to the MA bill to align it with a similar bill he previously introduced, and another to expand the data the state would collect within the bill surrounding sharing information with women who are taking an abortion-inducing drug. 

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