As the race for governor heats up ahead of the November election, incumbent Gov. Scott Walker has consistently aligned himself with the Republican Party and against the clear front-runner among Democratic primary candidates, Mary Burke, on issues like Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and the economy.
It will be months before the court makes a ruling on the constitutionality of the requirement that doctors in the state must obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals in order to perform abortions.
While the current political environment in Wisconsin favors GOP lawmakers devoted to the anti-choice agenda, politicians hoping to appeal to a wider audience may need to reconsider how to gain the support of voters both inside and outside their base, while balancing the need for support from the major anti-choice action groups.
The real purpose of Wisconsin’s admitting privileges law—like similar pending legislation in Alabama, Mississippi, and North Dakota—is not to protect maternal health, but to prevent women from exercising their constitutional right to choose an abortion, by making it virtually impossible to do so.
On Friday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a forced ultrasound bill that will also require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. In 2012, Walker also signed major anti-choice legislation, a telemed abortion ban, in the lead-in to a holiday weekend.
According to the anti-choice action group, “tons of doctors” approve of the new anti-choice bills mandating how physicians interact with patients. But national and state physicians’ groups are not on board.
Despite passionate testimony against it, multiple amendments, and public protest in the state capitol building, Wisconsin’s AB 227 passed as written with a 56-39 vote Thursday evening. The legislation will now head to Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has promised to sign.
If SB 208, or “Sonya’s Law,” is passed, the bill’s TRAP provision is likely to close the only abortion provider in northern Wisconsin.