As the Republican Party’s national march to restrict abortion continues, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed a controversial bill Friday that would require all women within the state to see an ultrasound of their fetus before going through with an abortion. The bill also requires all abortion clinics to have direct admitting privileges with a nearby hospital in case a woman suffers from complications during or after the procedure. This provision will effectively close two Wisconsin clinics.
"This bill improves a woman's ability to make an informed choice that will protect her physical and mental health now and in the future," Walker said in a statement, choosing not to sign the bill in public.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone agrees with Walker’s claim. Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit mere hours after the announcement of the signing, asking for the bill—which takes effect Monday—to be blocked temporarily.
"What the Legislature has done is to set up a system where the ability to provide abortions is contingent on the decision of a private institution and that's unconstitutional," Planned Parenthood's attorney, Lester Pines, told The Huffington Post.
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According to The Huffington Post, during the ultrasound, “The technician would have to point out the fetus' visible organs and external features. Abortion providers would have to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles to perform the procedures.” The latter portion would force two clinics to temporarily cease operations, one in Appleton and another in Madison, which would not have enough time to attain these privileges
While supporters argue the ultrasounds will help women connect with the fetus and prevent her from aborting it, and the admitting privileges will ensure the fastest possible care for women who suffer complications, critics claim the law is unwarranted government interference into medical procedures, and if need be, a clinic can call an ambulance for a woman suffering complications.
The bill will now bill challenged in federal court, but Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, doesn't seem to be terribly worried.
"It's no surprise they'll be challenging," she told The Huffington Post. "They see their livelihood threatened, their income threatened. We don't think in the long run they'll be successful."