Editor's Note: With 27 days left until the presidential election, PolicyMic's Audrey Farber will be posting a daily update on the state of abortion rights in the U.S., covering legislative challenges to Roe v. Wade in all 50 states. So far, we've gotten updates on Mississippi, Michigan, Indiana, Alabama, Ohio, Florida, Georgia, D.C., South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire. Check back in every day to keep track!
With abortion rights in the national spotlight again as Mitt Romney clarifies his stance on the issue — saying, "“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda" — what's on the agenda for America's Dairyland? Wisconsin's own Scott Walker has given Paul Ryan tips before the vice presidential debate Thursday night, including that the candidate should "be himself," which makes sense given their mutual opposition to abortion.
In April, Walker signed a duet of contentious bills which prohibit even private insurance plans sold on the state’s health exchange from including abortion coverage. The legislation also requires doctors to meet with women in person and “alone, away from her friends and family” on three separate occasions in order to assess if she’d been coerced into seeking an abortion. Disregard of this new law could result in felony charges for doctors. Walker further cut funding for Planned Parenthood.
His bill-signing party didn’t stop there: he also signed a bill into law which requires sex ed in public schools to stress abstinence and “remove[s] information on contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration from the required curriculum.” Previously, Wisconsin required its teachers to address birth control in sex ed curricula.
If Walker and the Wisconsin GOP’s endgame is to make sure Sconnie women have no information about or control over their own reproductive health care decisions, they’re doing a darn good job. The bill requiring patients and doctors to meet face to face thrice prior to an abortion includes abortions performed using RU-486. This has prompted Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin to “suspend all non-surgical abortions” in the state, citing concern for potential criminal charges being levied against its physicians. (About 25% of abortions performed by PPWI were medication-induced.)
In the same legislative session, Walker’s GOP-led legislature also rolled back the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, a repeal which was led by Wisconsin state Senator Glenn Grothman. Moreover, Grothman wanted to legally consider single parenthood (and same-sex couples) as a “contributing factor” to child abuse (minute 3:17), supported Wisconsin’s voter ID law, thinks “money is more important for men,” and said unplanned pregnancies are a choice we women make.