UPDATE: Senate passes abortion bill after brief, heated debate - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Senate passes abortion bill after brief, heated debate


MADISON (WKOW) -- As expected, the State Senate approved a bill Wednesday morning that requires women to have an ultrasound before getting an abortion.  

What wasn't expected were the fireworks that went off before that vote took place.

Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) authored SB 206 and made a forceful speech in support of it on the floor.

"Any place that's gonna rush a woman through this and not give her the ultrasound, that's a clinic quite frankly I don't want in Wisconsin," said Sen. Lazich.

The bill makes an exception for rape and incest victims, but Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma) says that doesn't take into account the large percentage of sexual assault victims that never file a police report.

"Mandatory education, mandatory conveying of options is fine, I don't care," said Sen. Vinehout, reading from a constituent's letter on SB 206.  "But this is over the edge and it is heartbreaking for victims of sexual violence."

"Honest to Pete, this is the most ridiculous thing," said Sen. Lazich of opposition to her bill.  "And we ought to be doing a lot more and you're probably going to see a lot more laws from me because these clinics that end of pulling this crap - 'Its a blob of tissue, its the best thing you can do, you're too young.' That's baloney!" 

After just 25 minutes, debate ended and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) called for a vote.  That caused Democrats to erupt and the Senate President to respond in kind.

"You're interrupting a roll call," Sen. Mike Ellis (R-Neenah) yelled to Democrats who shouted to contest the vote.  "Sit down!  Right now!," Ellis yelled again, slamming his gavel.

Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) says Sen. Fitzgerald offered Democrats 30 minutes to debate, which Larson refused.

"They wanted to get this through as quick as possible.  And I think that was evidenced by what ended up happening today," said Sen. Larson.

"We had a healthy and lengthy debate yesterday and we continued that this morning," said Sen. Fitzgerald in a statement he sent 27 News.  "The Democrats chose last night to put off this debate and today we have other items in committees that deserve to be heard so it was an appropriate time to take the final vote."

The bill passed on a 17-15 party line vote, with one Republican absent.  It now moves on to a vote in the Assembly on Thursday.

"I think that the debate hopefully will be fruitful and not one that gets contentious like it did in the State Senate," said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester).

The Assembly will also take up two other abortion-related bills on Thursday. 

One would prohibit state health insurance plans from covering the cost of abortions.  Another would allow the family members of a child aborted solely because of its sex, to file a lawsuit against the doctor who performed the abortion.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Republicans abruptly shut off debate before a dramatic vote approving a bill that requires women seeking an abortion first have an ultrasound performed.

The bill passed Wednesday as Democratic senators tried in vain to be recognized to speak. Republican Senate President Mike Ellis repeatedly banged his gavel and yelled that they were out of order.

The bill passed 17-15 with all Republicans in support and Democrats against.

Only two senators were able to speak Wednesday before Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald cut off debate after about 30 minutes.

Democratic Sen. Kathleen Vinehout says the bill's intent is to close down clinics that provide abortions in Wisconsin.

Bill sponsor Republican Sen. Mary Lazich gave an impassioned defense of the measure, saying it was a small step that would protect women.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Wisconsin state Senate has passed a bill requiring women seeking an abortion to first have an ultrasound performed.

The bill passed Wednesday after Democrats on Tuesday used a procedural move to delay the vote. The Assembly plans to take it up on Thursday and Gov. Scott Walker has said he will sign it.

Republican supporters say the requirement is necessary so women seeking an abortion will make an informed decision. But Democratic opponents say the requirement is intrusive and unnecessary.

The bill passed with all Republicans in support and all Democrats opposed.

The bill requires that an ultrasound technician display the image on an ultrasound, but the pregnant woman does not have to view it and it wouldn't apply in cases of rape, incest or an emergency.

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