Wisconsin Democratic governor vetoes restrictive abortion bills
Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) vetoed five bills on Friday that would have made abortion access more restrictive in the state.
In a press release and a statement on Twitter, Evers said he was firmly opposed to all five bills, which would have restricted abortion by providing more stringent reporting requirements on patients and providers, and by allowing third parties to press for damage claims in the case of an unwanted abortion.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again today: as long as I’m governor, I will veto any legislation that turns back the clock on reproductive rights in this state—and that’s a promise,” he said. “We cannot go backwards, and I will never stop working to make sure every Wisconsinite has access to quality, affordable healthcare, including reproductive healthcare in this state.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again today: as long as I’m governor, I will veto any legislation that turns back the clock on reproductive rights in this state—and that’s a promise.
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) December 3, 2021
One of the more contentious bills, the Shield the Vulnerable Act, would have banned abortions if the patient makes that decision based on the sex, race or disability diagnosis of the unborn baby. The bill would also allow other parties, be it a spouse, partner or family member, to bring damages to court if they did not want a person carrying the fetus to have the abortion.
In a message to the Senate, Evers said he vetoed it because “Wisconsinites have the right to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions,” and that it intimidates patients and healthcare professionals by “creating a path to legal damages.”
Wisconsin Senator Patrick Testin, a Republican who sponsored the bill, expressed disapproval of the governor’s veto on Friday.
“I’m disappointed that Gov. Evers vetoed the Shield the Vulnerable Act and other life affirming bills today,” he wrote on Twitter. “Deciding who deserves to be born based on their inherited characteristics is discrimination, and should have no place in our society.”
I’m disappointed that Gov. Evers vetoed the Shield the Vulnerable Act and other life affirming bills today. Deciding who deserves to be born based on their inherited characteristics is discrimination, and should have no place in our society.
— Sen. Patrick Testin (@SenatorTestin) December 3, 2021
Other bills would have required physicians to report certain information to patients about abortion pills during prenatal care. One bill would have, with some exceptions, decertified abortion care providers with the state’s department of health.
The Republican-dominated Wisconsin State Assembly could overturn the governor’s vetoes, but it would need a two-thirds majority to do so.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Democrats applauded Evers on Twitter, writing that their Republican colleagues were placing “attacks on reproductive healthcare [that] disproportionately impact people who already struggle to access healthcare.”
Wisconsin Republicans’ attacks on reproductive healthcare disproportionately impact people who already struggle to access healthcare—Black, Latinx, Indigenous, low-income, and rural communities.
— Wisconsin Democrats (@WisDems) December 3, 2021
Other states have successfully signed into law more restrictive rules on abortion access, including Texas, which has banned abortions after six weeks and limited access to abortion pills.
Mississippi has banned abortions after 15 weeks in a case that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court, where some fear the court’s conservative majority could overturn the 1973 landmark precedent Roe v. Wade, which established abortion as a private, individual right.
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