Wisconsin 20-Week Ban (AB 237)

Last updated: May 26, 2015


AB 237 would prohibit the performance of an abortion, except in a medical emergency, unless the physician performing or inducing the abortion has made a determination of the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child or has relied upon another physician’s determination of post-fertilization age.

The bill would prohibit any person from performing or inducing, or attempting to perform or induce, an abortion when the fetus is considered to be capable of experiencing pain, unless the woman is undergoing a medical emergency. Under the bill, the unborn child is capable of experiencing pain if the probable postfertilization age of the unborn child is 20 or more weeks. When the fetus is considered capable of experiencing pain and the pregnant woman is undergoing a medical emergency, the bill would require the physician to terminate the pregnancy in the manner that, in reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the “unborn child” to survive.

The bill would allow the woman on whom the abortion was performed or attempted, and the father of the “unborn child,” unless the pregnancy is the result of sexual assault or incest, to bring a claim for damages against a person who violates these limitations and requirements. The bill states that a prosecuting attorney may also bring an action for injunctive relief for intentional or reckless violations of the limitations and requirements.

The bill includes legislative findings based on junk science that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks.

The purpose of the 20-week ban is to “assert a compelling state interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that they are capable of feeling pain.”

Physician Reporting Requirement

The bill would require the hospital, clinic, or other facility to report the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus and whether ultrasound was used to assist in that determination of post-fertilization age; or, if the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus was not determined, the nature of the medical emergency. If the fetus is considered capable of experiencing pain, the bill requires reporting of the nature of the pregnant woman’s medical emergency and a statement of whether the method of abortion used was one that provided the best opportunity for the survival of the “unborn child.”

Informed Consent

The bill amends existing informed consent law (Wis. Stat. § 253.10(3) (c) 1 b.) In addition to the current requirement to inform the woman, orally and in writing, of the probable gestational age, the bill requires that the woman be informed, orally and in writing, of the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus and the numerical odds of survival for a fetus delivered at that probable post-fertilization age. The bill also requires that the woman be orally informed of and provided written materials on the availability of perinatal hospice.

Penalty

The bill states that any person who violates the prohibition against performing, inducing, or attempting to perform or induce an abortion when the fetus is capable of experiencing pain is guilty of a felony subject to a fine not to exceed $10,000, imprisonment not to exceed three years and six months, or both.

STATUS

Companion bill to SB 179.

 


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