Wis. Lawmakers, Antiabortion Groups Plan New Abortion Restrictions

January 9, 2013 — A new session of the Wisconsin Legislature began on Monday, and lawmakers and antiabortion-rights groups are planning measures to further restrict abortion access in the state, WUWM reports.

One bill being drafted would require women to view an ultrasound image of the fetus before being able to obtain an abortion, according to WUVM. Wisconsin Right to Life also will push lawmakers to ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation -- compared to the current ban after 24 weeks -- and prohibit the state from offering abortion coverage to public employees.

Bills' Prospects

State Sen. Glenn Grothman (R) said he does not expect lawmakers will consider abortion-related bills in the first three or four months of this year. Grothman said the Legislature likely will vote on abortion bills later in the session, adding that he would support a ban on sex-selective abortion.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Sandy Pasch (D) said she thinks lawmakers are unlikely to pursue abortion-related legislation in 2013 so they can instead focus on jobs, adding that she will fight any efforts to restrict abortion access. "Abortions are a very private, personal health decision a woman makes between her and her physician," Pasch said, adding, "This is not what the people of Wisconsin want. This is what a very-extreme group wants."

Tanya Atkinson of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said, "We hope they don't move forward with their agenda, and we'll be doing everything we possibly can to make sure that access isn't restricted."

In recent sessions, state lawmakers passed legislation requiring physicians to administer medication abortion in person to verify that women seeking abortions are not coerced (Mikkelson, WUWM, 1/7).