October 22, 2014

Challenge expected as Walker signs abortion bill

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has signed a bill into law that requires woman seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound performed before the procedure can be done.

The legislation has been the subject of much controversy at the Capitol, with Democrats calling it an assault on women seeking a legal medical procedure. Supporters say the measure as providing necessary medical information before an abortion and argue it may help to discourage women from moving forward with the procedure.

Governor Walker signed the bill Friday without holding a public ceremony, including it in a list of 18 bills he took action on. Speaking in Madison earlier this week, the governor signaled his support for the legislation, saying it’s a good idea to be “providing people with good, objective medical information.”

The law also requires doctors performing an abortion to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic they work out of. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin President and CEO Teri Huyck says the rule will have a major impact on services provided by the organization, forcing them to close an abortion clinic in Appleton and cut services at Milwaukee clinics by half. She says that will force women from across the region to travel even farther to receive a legal medical procedure.

AUDIO: Teri Huyck (1:35)

Huyck says gaining admitting privileges can take up to 90 days for approval, while the bill was only introduced last month and will take effect just days from now. She also notes that many doctors performing other safe out-patient procedures are not under a similar mandate.

Planned Parenthood intends to file a federal lawsuit challenging the rule, arguing the mandate is unconstitutional.