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Abortion rights supporters urge Wisconsin lawmakers to scrap bills



FILE - People gathered at Weigent Park in La Crosse on Oct. 2, 2021, to take part in the Rally for Reproductive Rights that happened nationwide in response to court challenges on the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade ruling of 1973.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Supporters of abortion rights urged Wisconsin legislators Thursday to scrap Republican-authored bills that would prohibit abortions based on fetal characteristics and force doctors to care for babies born as a result of botched abortions.

Abortion rights activists told the Wisconsin state Assembly health committee during a hearing that the bills would limit access to abortion and women’s health care, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. They called the bills “dangerous” and “extreme.”

Pro-life advocates countered that the bills would stop a modern form of eugenics and preserve life.

The first bill would prohibit abortions based on a fetus’ race, gender or health. The second bill would require doctors care for children born as a result of botched abortions; violators could face up to six years in prison.

The health committee considered several other abortion-related bills Thursday. One would require doctors to tell women planning to have abortions induced by a drug regimen that she could still change her mind after ingesting the first dose and may still be able to continue the pregnancy.

Another would require hospitals and clinics to provide the state with more data about abortions they perform and yet another would reduce public funding to abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood by preventing BadgerCare, the state’s health insurance program for the poor, from covering services at such facilities.

The bills come as abortion rights supporters are concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that essentially legalized abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb.

That would reenact an 1849 Wisconsin law that bans abortions outright, regardless of rape, incest or health of the mother.

The proposals before the health committee have been bouncing around in the Legislature since the last session, when Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed them. Evers is almost certain to veto any abortion restrictions that reach his desk this session as well and Republican lawmakers don’t have enough votes to override him.

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