Wisconsin governor promises veto if 'born alive' abortion bill advances

Wisconsin governor promises veto if 'born alive' abortion bill advances
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Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) promised to veto a “born alive” abortion bill if the GOP-backed legislation makes it to his desk.

The bill, introduced last week, hasn’t yet been voted on in any relevant legislative committees. Still, Evers told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he would veto the bill, citing existing protections and criminal penalties under Wisconsin state law. 

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"I think those protections already exist," Evers told the newspaper. "We have all sorts of issues to deal with in the state of Wisconsin and to pass a bill that is redundant seems to be not a productive use of time. And clearly I ran on the belief — and I still believe — that women should be able to make choices about their health care. But this deals with a specific issue that's already been resolved."

According to data from the state's Department of Health Services, only 1 percent of all abortions in 2017 occurred after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The report did not contain any data about any failed abortion that resulted in a live birth, according to The Associated Press.

The legislation mirrors a bill in North Carolina that was vetoed last week by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Like the North Carolina bill, the Wisconsin legislation would require doctors and nurses to provide the same level of care to an infant that survives an abortion as they would to any other newborn.

Any provider who does not comply would be guilty of a felony with a penalty of up to six years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.

A similar measure failed in the U.S. Senate in February.

On the other side of the U.S. Capitol, Republican leaders are trying to circumvent Democratic control of the House floor by introducing a discharge petition that would force a vote on the legislation.

Wisconsin lawmakers acknowledged the legislation, co-authored and sponsored by GOP leaders of both houses, is essentially a messaging bill.

The Wisconsin bill is part of a larger trend as states across the country are trying to pass anti-abortion bills, seeking to take advantage of a conservative majority in the Supreme Court.   

In Kansas, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly on Monday vetoed a bill that would have required doctors to inform patients that the abortion pill is reversible, a controversial theory that is not backed by science.

However, Republicans need only one more vote in the Senate to override Kelly’s veto with a two-thirds majority.