News Abortion

Wisconsin Right to Life Plans for 2013 Agenda May Take Backseat to Actual Lawmaking Priorities

Robin Marty

The group has been ready to go for months, but the legislature may be considering putting on the breaks.

Wisconsin Right to Life was already talking about its wish list for the 2013 legislature within days of the 2012 election, telling the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel they would focus on a mandatory forced ultrasound bill, a so-called “fetal pain” 20 week abortion ban, sex-based abortion bans and banning abortion coverage in the state employee insurance plan. Now, as the legislature prepares to meet, they are showing they are right on schedule.

The mandatory ultrasound bill was allegedly in the works during the 2012 session, according to anti-choice Republican Sen. Mary Lazich, who said she wrote a bill but didn’t have time to introduce it. Now wonder Lazich was too busy—she was one of the key sponsors for Act 217, the telemed abortion ban that was so restrictive and confusing that it shut off medication abortion availability in the state all together.

With the legislature getting ready to meet, however, the National Right to Life Affiliate may have to wait their turn when it comes to bills being proposed. Anti-choice legislators say that first they will need to focus on actual legislating before they can worry about their pet social issues. State Senator Glenn Grothman, best known for proposing a bill to declare single parenting as a risk factor for child abuse, told Milwaukee Public Radio that there is a time and a place for abortion restrictions, and that time is a few months further into the session.

It may indeed be a while before legislators get to abortion, according to Republican state Sen. Glenn Grothman.

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“I would be very surprised if we took up any of these pro-life bills in the first three or four months of the legislative session. I think the initial focus is going to be on jobs. But, there are usually about 400 bills that pass the Legislature and obviously they are going to include a wide variety of topics,” Grothman says.

Grothman predicts the majority will eventually pursue new restrictions on abortion – and says he would support many of them.

Jenni Dye, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, sees the proposed bills as an insult to the Wisconsin voters and their message in the 2012 election, whether they are voted on now or three months down the road.

“The legislation proposed by Wisconsin Right to Life and supported by anti-choice legislators like Senator Lazich is clearly part of a national agenda, not at all connected to the message sent by Wisconsin voters at the polls,” Dye told Rewire via email. “Voters sent a clear message that they opposed anti-choice policies and wanted legislators to focus on jobs and the economy. There are not jobs in women’s uteri.”

Perhaps the legislature finally got the message—sort of. Jobs first, uteri later.

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