Are girls being targeted for abortion in Wisconsin? A bill being considered at the Capitol could put abortion providers in the position of having to ask. Barbara Lyons with Wisconsin Right to Life says “sex selective” abortion has resulted in approximately 100 million fewer women in the global population. She says the practice originated in Asia, has spread to Europe and Canada, and that there is “some evidence” it’s being practiced in the U.S.
The bill could open doctors who knowingly perform sex selective abortions up to legal actions from the mother, father, or grandparent of an unborn child. “There’s no requirement that the provider ask,” said Lyons. “It’s just if the provider knows that the abortion is because the child is not of the preferred sex, then the abortion cannot take place.”
Jenni Dye with NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin said sex selective procedures also violate pro-choice values, but that this bill is not the correct solution. “The underlying cause is really sexism and cultural values that undervalue women as compared to men” said Dye. “What we need to do is address that underlying cause, instead of putting our doctors in the position of having to address a woman’s intention.”
The bill (AB 217) is one of several abortion-related proposals authored by Republican lawmakers this session. It and a second bill received public hearings Wednesday in the Assembly Health Committee.
The second bill would keep taxpayer money from going to cover abortions for public employees covered by state health insurance plans. “It would just put public employees in the same position as Medicaid recipients and the general public, in that the taxpayer will not fund their abortion,” said Lyons. “We’ve still been providing abortion coverage for public employees for the past thirty-some years.”
Dye with NARAL Pro Choice said the measure could put some women with dangerous pregnancies at risk. “We need to make sure that it does have protections for things like the health of the mother, so that women who are in dangerous situations are still able to get that care and not end up with thousands of dollars in medical debt.”
The bill from state Representative Andre Jacque also provides a religious exemption for organizations which don’t wish to provide birth control through their employee heath plans.