Wisconsin Governor Asked to Sign Pro-Life Conscience Clause Bill
by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
February 27, 2004
Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — Wisconsin pro-life leaders are urging Gov. Jim Doyle to sign a bill that would guarantee that health care professionals would not be required to take part in anti-life activities.
"We hope that Governor Doyle will come to the conclusion that forcing health care professionals and facilities to participate in the activities outlined in AB 67 is just plain wrong," said Susan Armacost, Legislative Director of Wisconsin Right to Life.
The Governor has declined to say whether he will sign the bill. However, he did tell the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he has "generally opposed these kinds of bills as getting in the way of good health care in the U.S."
The legislation would allow medical professionals to refuse to take part in procedures involving abortion, sterilization, human embryos, and fetal tissue or organs.
The measure would also allow health care workers to invoke the conscience clause when confronted with demands to withhold food and water or assist in suicide or euthanasia.
Under the bill, hospitals would not be forced to admit patients for anti-life procedures. Also, a hospital or other employer could not take action against a medical professional who refused to participate in an anti-life activity.
Current Wisconsin law already permits health care officials and hospitals to refuse to perform sterilizations or abortions.
Most of the opposition to Assembly Bill 67 came from the abortion lobby.
Lisa Boyce, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, told the Associated Press, "No one should allow their personal beliefs to trump what is best for a woman’s health."
A number of medical experts, however, note that abortion is inherently dangerous for women, putting them at risk for a host of physical and psychological complications.
State Rep. Jean Hundertmark (R-Clintonville), a sponsor of the bill, told the Associated Press, "It’s very forward-looking legislation. No procedures are being denied, and women’s health will be maintained, but the individuals who perform those things will be protected."
"In spite of the rhetoric advanced by the opponents of AB 67, the legislation is a very simple, commonsense concept," Wisconsin Right to Life’s Armacost said.
"First, AB 67 provides conscience rights only in regard to the specific activities outline in the bill and in no others.
"Second, AB 67 does not ban any of the activities outlined in the bill. Third, AB 67 does nothing to prevent any health care professional or facility, who are willing to participate in the activities outlined in AB 67, from doing so," Armacost added.
"This legislation grants conscience rights only in the specific areas of abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, the deliberate destruction of human embryos for research purposes and the use of tissue of aborted babies," Armacost said.
"Everyone recognizes that these activities involve the intentional destruction of human life. On the other hand, AB 67 would not ban any of these activities nor would it prevent any health care professional or facility from participating in those activities if they wish to do so.
"For the sake of those health care professionals and facilities who do not want to be involved in the deliberate destruction of human life, this legislation richly deserves to be enacted into law," Armacost said.
ACTION: Contact Governor Doyle with your opinions about the pro-life legislation. You can send an email by using the form at https://www.wisgov.state.wi.us/contact.asp