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Health Expert Denounces Wisconsin GOP's 'Born-Alive' Abortion Bill

Doctors who don't provide medical care to infants who are born alive after a failed abortion attempt could face life in prison under a Republican bill in the Wisconsin General Assembly. (Pixabay)
Doctors who don't provide medical care to infants who are born alive after a failed abortion attempt could face life in prison under a Republican bill in the Wisconsin General Assembly. (Pixabay)
May 8, 2019

MADISON, Wis. - Despite objections by medical professionals, Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin are quickly advancing a bill that would require abortion providers to care for infants that survive abortion attempts - or face prison.

Health experts have said very few babies are born as a result of an abortion and that laws already are on the books to protect viable, live-born infants. However, Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, and Senate President Roger Roth, R-Appleton, both have urged quick passage of Assembly Bill 179, claiming there would be "no harm in getting rid of gray areas."

Dr. Kathy Hartke, Wisconsin legislative co-chair for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in Wisconsin, argued that the bill is harmful to women and the medical profession.

"No doctor in Wisconsin is going to neglect or kill a viable baby," she said. "That is just unfounded, and it totally undermines the trust that the public has in OB-GYNs."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recorded 143 instances of live births resulting from abortion attempts between 2003 and 2014. Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has vowed to veto the bill if it passes.

Hartke said she has noticed that similar legislation popping up in several states also neglects the facts. She called the bill inflammatory, and said it disregards the serious and complex issues that doctors face every day.

"It's not about listening to the facts," she said. "This is purely political rhetoric and it's unfortunate, because women are really the ones that are going to suffer."

The bill is part of a package of anti-abortion legislation that also would eliminate Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood. The Assembly Health Committee plans to vote on the package of bills on Thursday.

The text of AB 179 is online at docs.legis.wisconsin.gov.

Trimmel Gomes, Public News Service - WI