MADISON, Wis. – Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed a contentious Republican bill Friday that would require women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound and ban doctors who lack admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from performing the procedures.
Opponents contend legislators shouldn’t force women to undergo any medical procedure and the bill will force two abortion clinics where providers lack admitting privileges to shut their doors. The law takes effect Monday.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit within hours of the signing alleging the bill is unconstitutional and asking for a temporary restraining order blocking the measure.
The bill is part of a broad GOP push to dramatically curtail abortions nationally.
North Dakota’s governor, Republican Jack Dalrymple, signed a law this spring that outlaws abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The state’s lone abortion clinic has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the law.
Republicans in Arkansas this spring passed a law that bans most abortions after 12 weeks. A federal judge has temporarily blocked the law.
Alabama passed a law similar to the Wisconsin bill in April requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The ACLU and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit contending the law would shut down three clinics because doctors at the clinics haven’t been able to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Another federal judge has temporarily blocked Mississippi officials from closing down that state’s only abortion clinic because providers there lack admitting privileges.
Under the new Wisconsin law, any woman seeking an abortion would have to get an ultrasound. The technician would have to point out the fetus’ visible organs and external features. Supporters argue ultrasounds will help the woman bond with the fetus and convince her to save it.
Abortion providers would have to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles to perform the procedures. That would ensure that a woman who suffers complications has an advocate who can explain what happened when she reaches a hospital, supporters say.