Wisconsin Bills Would Protect Babies and Pro-Life Health Workers

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 24, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Wisconsin Bills Would Protect Babies and Pro-Life Health Workers

by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
September 24, 2003

Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — Wisconsin Right to Life is backing two pieces of legislation now going through important stages in the state legislature.

The Born Alive Infant Protection Act (AB 372/SB 195) will be debated Thursday. The bill, authored by Rep. Mark Gun drum (R-New Berlin) and Sen. Mary Laic (R-New Berlin), gives equal protection to infants born alive after abortion as those born after normal delivery.

"The legal status of a baby who is born alive should not be dependent on whether the child’s birth occurred as a result of a natural or induced labor, cesarean section, or induced abortion," said Susan Armacost, Legislative Director of Wisconsin Right to Life. "And that child’s legal status and legal rights should most certainly not be based on whether the child’s mother wants him or her."

Congress passed the federal version of the Born Alive Infant Protection act in 2002. However, the federal version of the law deals only with federal statues and regulations, so Wisconsin and other states must pass their own versions to handle cases dealing with state regulations.

Those supporting the 2002 federal Born Alive Infant Protection act included several legislators who usually vote pro-abortion.

"The Born Alive Infant Protection Act is legislation that both abortion opponents and supporters can support because it has no application in debates over the legal rights of unborn children," said Armacost. "Once the baby is completely removed from the mother’s body, the pregnancy has been terminated. Roe v. Wade did not grant a right to a dead baby."

The Conscience Clause Bill (AB 67) is scheduled for a public hearing before the Senate Health, Children, Families, Aging and Long-Term Care Committee on October 7. This bill extends the rights of hospitals and health care providers to refuse certain medical procedures based on religious beliefs.

Authored by Rep. Jean Hundertmark (R-Clintonville) and Sen. Carol Roessler (R-Oshkosh), it has already received much support in the State Assembly.

"Soon after Roe v. Wade, Wisconsin enacted legislation that provided certain health care providers employment-related protection if they refused to participate in abortions or sterilization procedures based upon moral or religious grounds," Rep. Hundertmark told LifeNews.com.

"AB 67 builds upon the protections that were created thirty years ago to ensure that a health care provider’s fundamental right to conscience is protected in an increasingly changing world," Hudertmark added.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is opposed to AB 67.

"As written it would allow any physician to deny access to medication or prenatal care to pregnant women," Lisa Boyce of Planned Parenthood of WI told LifeNews.com. "A health care provider should not allow individual moral beliefs for interfere with good health care."

According to the text of AB 67, the purpose of the legislation is to expand the already present protection from employment discrimination based on creed. The document defines "creed" as "A system of religious beliefs, including moral or ethical beliefs about right or wrong."

The law states:

"This bill expands the definition of employment discrimination based on creed to include discriminating against an employee or prospective employee on the basis of his or her refusal, based on creed, to participate in any of the following activities: 1) sterilization procedures: 2) abortions; 3) experiments or medical procedures that involve the destruction of a human embryo or that involve a human embryo or unborn child but do not relate to the beneficial treatment of the human embryo or unborn child; 4) procedures using fetal tissue or organs other than fetal tissue or organs from
stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage; 5) withholding or withdrawing nutrition or hydration under certain circumstances; or 6) acts intentionally causing or assisting in the death of an individual, including assisted suicide, euthanasia, or mercy killing."

Other than the 6 procedures listed above, the bill does not offer any other protections to health care providers for refusing to provide health care to their patients.

Related web sites:
Link to Text of AB67 – https://www.legis.state.wi.us/2003/data/AB-67.pdf
Wisconsin Right to Life – https://www.wrtl.org