With No Debate, Wisconsin Senate Passes Forced Ultrasound Bill With TRAP Provision

It only took a few minutes for the Wisconsin senate to sweep through a forced ultrasound bill that would also likely close the only abortion provider in the northern half of the state. Already accused by bill opponents of fast-tracking the restrictions, Republican senators called for an immediate vote on SB 206 Wednesday, shutting down any chance of full senate debate over the provisions or their impact. The bill was voted through the Senate Health and Human Services Committee just one day prior. It’s now likely on its way to becoming law.

Anti-choice politicians have dismissed claims that their fast tracking of the restrictions was meant to stifle debate. “These are issues that have been out there for quite some time,” Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) told the Associated Press prior to the vote. “They’re not speeding through without opportunity for public discussion. … I think most of these are common sense issues.”

Reproductive rights advocates disagree. “This bill and the way in which it was passed—rushing it through and shutting down debate—are emblematic of the anti-choice GOP caucus’ approach to women,” NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin Executive Director Jenni Dye said in a statement. “They want to tell women what to do and what to listen to, quite literally in this bill, without giving careful consideration to the consequences of the legislation they are passing.”

Next, the state house will take up the bill, which could happen as early as Thursday of this week; passage appears likely. Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a longtime abortion opponent who has received endorsements from every anti-choice organization in the state—including Pro-Life Wisconsin, a radical group that also opposes birth control—has already said he will sign the bill into law if it reaches his desk. “I don’t have any problem with ultrasound,” Walker told the AP Tuesday. “I think most people think ultrasounds are just fine.”

If SB 206 is signed, not only will ultrasounds, including a full description of the embryo or fetus, be a mandated part of abortion care, but the patient will be forced to listen to heart tones prior to an abortion as well. The bill would also likely cause the Appleton Planned Parenthood to stop offering abortions because of a targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) provision that would require doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Although the state’s three other clinics, which are located in Milwaukee and Madison, should be able to meet the requirement, representatives at the Appleton clinic have said they are unlikely to be able to do meet the requirement. As such, the only abortion provider in the northern half of the state could close.

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  • booch11

    you’re incorrect. during debate on monday, state democrats invoked a two part procedure that delayed the vote on the ultrasound requirement by 24 hours. however, the second part of that procedure is the majority party can demand a vote 24 hours later without further debate. republicans called for the vote without further debate as the procedure indicates. either the democrats were ignorant of the procedure they invoked, or they wanted to make hay with uninformed voters. my guess is the latter — our state dems are not stupid.

  • Jennifer3597

    This is a sadistic tactic which presupposes that a woman seeking an abortion has not considered her options with any degree of intelligence or thought. This a heinous proposition intended to further drive home the message of the anti-choice movement that a woman choosing an abortion should be punished – she should be made to suffer further for the choice she has already struggled to make. Are they suggesting that a woman seeking an abortion who is lying on a table being *forced* to listen to fetal heart tones, being “offered” a view of the contents of her uterus and who is given the fetal “description” is going to hop up off the table and say, “oh, silly me… I changed my mind”. REALLY? To enforce a vaginal ultrasound which is medically unnecessary and is obviously being administered to attempt to torture the woman by any means possible is NUTS. These tactics are meant to cause a woman to feel shame – they have no basis in acting to “protect women” or “protect women’s reproductive rights”. They’re insane measures meant to punish and to further alienate women from the option of a medically safe abortion – either by means of driving up the costs of abortion via the addition of medically nonessential testing – or by subjecting her to a total mind-f***. “No one has an issue with sonograms – they’re okay”… Yeah, they’re great when you’ve decided to continue your pregnancy! Unbelievable.