Wisconsin governor signs tougher abortion bill
July 5th, 2013
07:19 PM ET
10 years ago

Wisconsin governor signs tougher abortion bill

(CNN) - Wisconsin became the latest state Friday to legislate tighter abortion laws after Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed a controversial bill that requires women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion.

"This bill improves a woman's ability to make an informed choice that will protect her physical and mental health now and in the future," the governor's office said in a statement.

The law requires medical providers to display the ultrasound images “so that the pregnant woman may view them” before she undergoes a procedure. She must be given a medical description of the images, as well as the dimensions of the fetus and a description of external features or internal organs that are present. The woman also must be provided a means to see any heartbeat, according to the law.

The bill, which passed the Republican-controlled Legislature in June, also places stricter standards on abortion clinics by prohibiting doctors without admitting privileges at local hospitals from performing abortions.

Pregnancies that result from rape or incest are excluded from the requirements.

According to the law, the ultrasound provision lets women choose between transvaginal and abdominal ultrasounds.

Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia faced fierce opposition last year over intrusiveness concerns when he supported a transvaginal ultrasound requirement. He later pushed for lawmakers to amend the bill, saying such a mandate was not a "proper role for the state."

Opponents of the Wisconsin law say the provision requiring admitting privileges could effectively shut down two abortion clinics in the state. Planned Parenthood announced Friday it will file a lawsuit in federal court to block the law, arguing some women may now have to travel at least an extra 200 miles to have a legal abortion.

“Whether during special legislative sessions, at midnight votes, or in courthouses across the country, Planned Parenthood is fighting deeply unpopular and dangerous attacks on women’s health every step of the way,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “The health and safety of American women are at stake - and that is why this unconstitutional law cannot be allowed to stand.”

Anti-abortion activists in Texas are fighting to pass a restrictive abortion bill, which would impose more regulations on abortion providers in the state and ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy. And the North Carolina Legislature voted this week to increase a number of standards for abortion clinics, but the governor has yet to act on the bill.

Filed under: Abortion • Scott Walker • Wisconsin
soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. ricke1449

    Education is important in medical decisions. Getting all the facts and then making a decision is called an educated decision.

    July 6, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  2. Italmn

    Women have the ONLY RIGHT to decide what they want period. If they want an Ultra-Sound fine, that's their decision. If they do NOT that too is there decision. Stay OUT of womens re-productive and very personal decision making.

    July 6, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  3. Anthony

    Like many of his fellow Republicans, Gov. Walker ran on jobs but focused on other issues once he got into office.

    July 6, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  4. TM

    Who will be forced to pay for the medically unnecessary ultrasound?

    July 6, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. Zeebot

    If the state want's to guilt/force women wanting abortions to carry fetuses to term then the state should pay the bills and adopt the child itself! Otherwise butt out and mind your own business...

    July 6, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. ed dugan

    The neandrathals are at it again but,as usual, they will get overturned on appeal. Cost them money but they are way too stupid to realize that. Forcing a woman to have and pay for a medical procedure. That is one of the dumber ones.

    July 6, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. Belseth

    "an informed choice that will protect her physical and mental health now and in the future"

    So you guilt trip her about the hardest decision of her life? Right to lifers only care about their beliefs. They don't care about how much harm they cause. Very much the ends justify the means types. Funny how they moan on about unborn children yet they show little concern for the 7 billion already born.

    July 6, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  8. Michael Q

    "Pregnancies that result from rape or incest are excluded from the requirements."

    Would someone please explain to me why these babies (fetus) are not protected? The fetus had nothing to do with the initial act of conception, so why is it acceptable to kill this fetus (assuming you say it has a life) and not the others who were created by consenting adults? A life is a life is a life, is it not? Seriously, are you telling me that this baby (fetus) was born on the wrong side of the tracks, was born the wrong color, or was born into the wrong financial social group, and, thus lost its right to live? Just asking where the slippery slope begins. Personally, I believe a woman has the right to determine whether she will carry this child to the point where it can breathe and function on its own (actual birth not a seed with potential), and the mother has the right to prosecute those who raped or abused her in the impregnation, not some government official!

    July 6, 2013 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  9. Andrea

    Who pays for the ultrasounds? The state? The patient? If the patient has to pay those on Medicaid or with their own insurance might be covered, though I could see insurances not covering because it isn't a medically necessary screening. What about people with no insurance? If the burden of cost falls to the patient this put them in a terrible situation.

    July 6, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  10. JM

    Wisconsin has always been a successful progressive state with decent people and high standard of living. In four years they have become caught up in the racist rhetoric of the far right and now are nothing more than a mirror image of Mississippi. Four years from now you will see Wisconsin ranked right along side Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, etc in human rights, women's health, education, wages and unemployment and childhood obesity. Another state bites the dust.

    July 6, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. Etta Mae

    Why does the unwanted pregnancy of one woman become the business of people whom it does not affect? How does a legislature force invasive procedures upon an individual to satisfy a personal objection to the choice of that other, unrelated person? Laws against a woman's choice over abortion are laws that infringe upon the personal freedom of that woman. There was a man involved in the creation of that child. Where is the legislation forcing him to either help raise and support the child, regardless of whether the child is raised by its mother or by someone else, or to undergo mandatory sterilization to prevent other future unwanted pregnancies? Why is it only the woman's options against whom we legislate?

    July 6, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  12. Mike

    What the GOP is doing in state after state, yes Texas and Ohio I'm also ranting at you, is disgusting. However, it is up to the residents in Wisconsin, Texas, and Ohio to put these "Job Creators" out of power. 2014 and 2016 are coming.

    July 6, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  13. Bob Smetters

    Obviosly, he thinks women are not capable of making their own decisions relating to themselves, their family and gyno procedures and feels the government knows better. That GOP [rep Franklin] proposal to set up an agency to investigate all miscarraiges for possible wrong doing will be soon reintroduced, I have a feeling.

    July 6, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  14. jpmichigan

    Actions like this one against women in general, is the reason the Republicans can't really get any where higher then Governor. Number in the federal congress will also fall. Conservative always walk one step backwards.

    July 6, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. Nunya

    Just another money maker. I'd think that most women already know what their fetus looks liked without having an ultrasound crammed down their throat. I am PRO CHOICE. I do not believe in abortion for the sake of birth control or partial birth abortions. I know I could never go thru with an abortion myself. However, if something happens, the WOMAN should have the choice to make the decision as to what to do with the child. Notice how it's another MAN who crammed this thru. Just awful.

    July 6, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  16. Mags

    "This bill improves a woman's ability to make an informed choice that will protect her physical and mental health now and in the future," Wow, women in Wisconsin must be dumber that a pile of rocks to need laws like this. It is so remarkably insulting to assume women need legislation to help them make what is already a difficult decision.

    July 6, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. lordnimrond

    Providing women the opportunity to make an informed choice is one thing.... FORCING a woman to undergo "information gathering" procedures against ger will for the express purpose of trying to guilt her out of a medical procedure she desires is totally another...

    July 6, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  18. D Mills

    What an obscene law this is! Where in the world are the female legislators?? Are there none in Wisconsin?
    But even if a woman had been leading the charge on this, it would still be wrong. When pin suited males are forcing women's personal health decisions it is truly an obscenity. Is there actually any difference between that and rape?
    Maybe Wisconsin should tie in with Egypt, there are some neat similarities.

    July 6, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Doug Sanders

    Abortion clinics and Dr's operate under the most minimal medical standards of any surgical outpatient facilitys in the country. I applaud any effort to upgrade those standards. In addition, seeing an utrasound does nothing but help a woman be "at peace" with whatever choice she makes prior to having a non reversible surgical procedure done.
    In any other medical world this would be all be part of the pre-surgical preperation. Ending the life of a child is a decision not to be taken lightly.

    July 6, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  20. Marcia

    Men should not allowed to have an opinion on abortion until they can become pregnant. I also propose that all those who are pro life be mandated to adopt at least one unwanted child.

    July 6, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
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