The Wisconsin state Senate has passed controversial legislation to ban non-emergency abortions after 20 weeks into a pregnancy. State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) authored the bill, citing information she said shows fetuses can feel pain at that point.
“At 20 weeks the state has a compelling state interest to not inflict excruciating pain and torture on children,” Lazich said.
“This is a joke,” said Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton). “More importantly it’s a very insensitive, cruel joke played on a doctor and a mother.” Erpenbach said a mother would have to be “knocking on death’s door” before a doctor could perform the procedure to save her life.
The bill, which Democrats said will not hold up to court challenges if it becomes law, passed on a 19-14 party line vote. “You’re doing absolutely nothing, except taking a doctor who makes a decision, and making him a felon,” Erpenbach said.
The measure faces an uncertain future in the Assembly. “The bill as it’s drafted certainly has a lot of merit,” said Speaker Robin Vos, but suggested that some members might balk at the prospect costs surrounding any potential legal challenge. “If we have that discussion and our members feel that it’s not a priority for them, we’ll have to discuss it at that time.”