Last night, the Republican majority in the state Assembly opted to spend the last few days in the most contentious legislative session in Wisconsin history waging war on women’s rights and health care. By party-line votes, the Republican majority adopted some of the most extreme anti-women bills seen.
These bills ban any private insurers from providing abortion coverage in health care exchanges (SB 92) and repeal the Healthy Youth Act, Wisconsin’s gold-standard, in comprehensive sex education statute (SB 237).
“The Republican majority once again demonstrated that their focus is not on jobs or improving the lives of Wisconsinites, but waging a war on women and their most basic rights to make personal, private decisions about their lives,” stated Taylor. “They are jeopardizing the health and lives of Wisconsin women with bills that take us back decades.”
Republican’s defeated Representative Taylor’s amendment to AB 154 to require private insurers to cover abortion when a woman is the victim of rape or incest, or when her life or health is threatened.
Republicans opposed another Taylor amendment to SB 237 which required that human growth and development instruction be medically accurate and removed a provision in SB 237 that teens be told that abstinence is the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and disease, which is a medically inaccurate statement. Birth control and condom usage are incredibly reliable methods to prevent pregnancy and disease. Despite this, any reference to contraception or condoms were eliminated from the law, returning the focus of the sex education law back to the failed abstinence only policies that even Texas has abandoned.
“Despite the fact that no legislator in the entire chamber agreed that abstinence was the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and disease, they mandated that our children be told medically inaccurate information,” stated Taylor. “As a result of this irresponsible and factually incorrect approach, teens will continue to contract HIV/AIDS and other STDs at an alarming rate and they will continue to get pregnant.”
Another dangerous bill to women’s health, SB 306 is scheduled for the Thursday, March 15 Assembly calendar. This bill dictates physical exams and specific follow up care that physicians must follow for abortion care, and provides felony penalties for physicians that do not follow the mandated follow up protocols. The medical community, including the Wisconsin Medical Society, vigorously opposes this measure.