Wisconsin’s Anti-Abortion Bills: The National Connection

Jul. 9, 2013
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U.S. District Judge William Conley did the right thing in temporarily halting Act 37's requirement that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of their clinic.

In his order, Conley found that the requirement wasn’t necessary for maternal health and the state therefore had no reason to implement this mandate:


As reflected in the immediate section above, there will almost certainly be irreparable harm to those women who will be foreclosed from having an abortion in the next week either because of the undue burden of travel or the late stage of pregnancy, as well as facing increasing health risks caused by delay.  Since the State has failed to date to demonstrate any benefit to maternal health of imposing this restriction, there is no meaningful counterweight recognized by the United States Supreme Court to justify the Act’s immediate enforcement.


Conley will hear arguments for an injunction on July 17.

Unfortunately, the admitting privileges mandate was only part of this extremist bill.

The rest of the bill requires women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound—in most cases, a trans-vaginal ultrasound—and hear descriptions of and view her fetus.

Not surprisingly, no member of Wisconsin’s medical community supported Act 37, which was initiated by state Sen. Mary Lazich of New Berlin.

But of course its origins lie elsewhere.

As I detail in tomorrow’s issue of the Shepherd, this anti-abortion bill, like the others working their way through the state Legislature, is inspired by model legislation drafted by the national anti-abortion group Americans United for Life (AUL).

Think of AUL as ALEC for the anti-abortion crowd.

AUL denied that they had a hand in any of the Wisconsin bills.

But if you take a look at the model bills available on AUL’s website, you’ll see that they’re quite familiar, both to Wisconsinites and folks around the country. Defunding Planned Parenthood. Banning gender-based abortions. Outlawing abortions after 20 weeks. Conscience clauses. And so on.

Not much has been written about AUL in the mainstream press but The Guardian took the lead on it last year.

Fair-minded Wisconsinites need to pay attention to AUL just like they pay attention to ALEC. Legislators cannot be surprised by this stuff, either. Cut-and-paste bills are going to be pushed through the Legislature so anti-abortion legislators can raise their national profiles and secure more donations from the anti-abortion crowd. This is part of a highly coordinated national strategy to try to chip away at a woman's right to make her own decisions and medical professionals' ability to do their work without interference. We've been warned.
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