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Wisconsin Women's Groups Plan Abortion-Ban Protest

PHOTO: A bill to ban abortions in Wisconsin after the 20th week of pregnancy has passed the state Senate and will move on to the state Assembly. The Wisconsin Chapter of the National Organization for Women is among the groups protesting the legislation. Photo courtesy: University of Omaha
PHOTO: A bill to ban abortions in Wisconsin after the 20th week of pregnancy has passed the state Senate and will move on to the state Assembly. The Wisconsin Chapter of the National Organization for Women is among the groups protesting the legislation. Photo courtesy: University of Omaha
June 17, 2015

MADISON, Wis. - Political theater is nothing new to Madison, but an event to be held at 4 p.m. today on the Capitol Square is a unique attempt to stop a 20-week abortion ban, which passed the state Senate last week.

Dayna Long, president of the Wisconsin chapter of the National Organization for Women, said the goal is to draw attention to Senate Bill 179, which her group believes is the wrong move for Wisconsin women.

"We'll be putting on hospital gowns, and we'll be visiting the governor's office to request medical care, because we believe that Scott Walker is posturing as a women's health expert - so we're going to show up and request service," Long said. "Obviously, our goal is not actually to receive medical service from Gov. Walker, it's to ask him to stop using his office to 'play doctor.' "

Supporters of the bill say it will give protection to unborn lives, but Long said the bill is an example of government overreach into the lives of Wisconsin women. Long called Walker a "gynotician" - her group's term for a politician pretending to be a women's health expert.

Long said there are many reasons her organization is protesting the bill. She said these kinds of decisions should be made by a woman and her doctor, without interference from politicians.

"The very first reason that this bill should never have moved forward in the first place is because it's an egregious invasion of privacy," she said. "It gets between a woman and her doctor in one of the most vulnerable times of her life."

The bill Long's group and others hope to stop will move on to the state Assembly for a vote, and Walker has said he will sign it if it passes both houses.

Long said the afternoon event is about garnering publicity and will not be the end of NOW's challenges to Walker, who is a likely presidential candidate.

"If Scott Walker is going to pursue a presidential seat, he's going to announce candidacy and he's going to do it on the backs of Wisconsin women, who this bill seeks to harm," she said. "We're not going to let this go away, and there are NOW members in every state who will dog him on his record when it comes to women's health - and that is a promise."

Details of SB 179 are online at docs.legis.wisconsin.gov.

Tim Morrissey, Public News Service - WI