Heated debate as lawmakers pass bill that requires ultrasound be - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Senate passes legislation requiring ultrasound before abortion

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- The state Senate approved a bill designed to make women take an extra step before having an abortion.

Things got heated Wednesday morning as Republicans in the state Senate passed a controversial bill that would require a woman who is considering having an abortion to first undergo an ultrasound.

"Young mothers can look at the sonoscope and actually see the child is moving and living.  It has ears and a nose and a mouth and it's a real baby," points out Wisconsin Right to Life Member Wayne Laufenberg.

"It's designed to do one thing.  Intimidate women, bully women, and to tell women that the Wisconsin State Senate believes that you can't decide on your own because you are not capable, along with you doctor, to make your own medical decisions," counters Sen. Jon Erpenbach.

"I would almost appreciate if we just called it what it was.  Instead of pretending that we are trying to provide a different higher level of quality of care, just say I don't agree with abortion and I want to put up all the roadblocks I can between a woman and her right to make that choice," states Sen. Lena Taylor.  "Say it.  I just like calling a spade a spade."

"This isn't church.  This is the Wisconsin State Senate," Erpenbach yells.  "Your religious beliefs should not be part of legislation that you are forcing upon other people."

Two amendments in the bill were approved.  The first is to make sure those performing the ultrasound pass a criminal background check.  The second allows the woman to choose the ultrasound method they would prefer.

"I don't want anyone out here to think that this bill mandates a type of ultrasound.  It does not do that in any way, shape or form.  It is the woman's decision on the type of ultrasound," answers Sen. Mary Lazich.

Republicans argue this is another way to make sure women are getting better health care they need when faced with a difficult decision.

"You are just making it more safe and it's making it more rare if the mother changes her mind and thinks about boy, oh boy, look what I'm doing," says Laufenberg.  "There's a real child in my stomach."

The bill was approved 17-15 along party lines.  The State Assembly plans to take it up Thursday and Governor Walker has said he will sign it. In cases of rape or incest where a police report was filed, those women would not be required to undergo an ultrasound first.  Also, women would not have to pay for the ultrasound under the bill, but how that would be paid for is still up in the air. 

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