Republicans in the Senate make it tougher to get abortions in Wisconsin.

States could prohibit coverage of most abortions in the plans offered through the new health care exchanges to be established by 2014 under the new federally-mandated law. Senator Rich Zipperer (R-Pewaukee) explains why Republicans voted for the bill (SB-92). “The need for the bill is clear; if the legislature doesn’t act and if the federal law is not overturned or repealed, taxpayers in Wisconsin are gonna be forced to subsidize elective abortions.”

Abortions could still be covered in cases of sexual assault, incest, or if the mother’s life is at risk. The bill would be an extension of the current state law which already bans the use of state funds to pay for abortions.

Democrats argue the bill would also prohibit some private insurance plans from covering abortion. Senator Fred Risser (D-Madison) questions where one draws the line in government control. “It’s just incomprehensible to me that we can tell people how to spend their legal money, especially when they want to spend it for a legal purpose. What’s the next step?”

During floor discussion, Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) brings up an issue lawmakers and voters on both sides of the political aisle are concerned about. “I just have to ask a question … uh, where are the jobs?”

NOTE: Exchanges are a marketplace where individuals not covered through their employers can shop for health insurance at competitive rates. The bill, which passed 17-16 in the Senate, now heads to the Assembly.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:17

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