Wisconsin Governor Vetos Pro-Life Bill Protecting Health Care Workers

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 21, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Wisconsin Governor Vetos Pro-Life Bill Protecting Health Care Workers

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
April 21, 2004

Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — As expected, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle (D) vetoed a pro-life conscience clause bill that would have protected the rights of health care workers to refuse to participate in objectionable activities such as abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia and research involving the destruction of human embryos.

The legislation, AB 67, would have prevented employers from firing or discriminating against employees who wanted to opt out of participating in such life-taking activities.

But Doyle said the bill would put patient care at risk and result in a de facto prohibition on some medical procedures.

"Under this bill, not only could a health care provider refuse treatment, but there are no requirements that the health care professional advise patients of their treatment options, provide a referral for the patient, transfer certain patients, or render care if the patients’ health or life is threatened," the governor said in his veto statement.

"It would be unconscionable to deny our citizens the full range of needed medical treatment in order to satisfy the ideological views of some health care professionals."

Rep. Jean Hundertmark, R-Clintonville, the bill’s sponsor, had asked for time to explain the bill to Doyle, but he refused.

"I had asked for a time where we could sit down and discuss it, but he evidently did not feel the need to," Hundertmark said.

Supporters of the bill object to Doyle’s characterization of it as a ban on health care.

Hundertmark said the bill doesn’t refuse any medical procedure to any patient, but simply allows health care workers to not be forced to participate in something they find morally offensive.

Pro-life advocates say they, too, requested time with Governor Doyle and were not surprised that he vetoed the pro-life bill.

"We are not at all surprised that AB 67 will be vetoed by our governor," said Susan Armacost, Legislative Director for Wisconsin Right to Life. "We had requested a meeting with him prior to his taking action on the bill but we were informed yesterday that he would not meet with us."

Doyle said Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Wisconsin NARAL "have also worked to educate the public about the bill’s effects on patients’ rights and the medical code of ethics."

But, Armacost said Doyle "has decided that appeasing Planned Parenthood, the state’s largest abortion provider, trumps all other considerations."

"Everyone recognizes that the activities outlined in AB 67 involve the deliberate destruction of human life," said Armacost.

"There are those in the medical profession who believe that their mission is to treat and heal their patients — not to kill them," Armacost explained. "What the governor and Planned Parenthood don’t seem to understand is that the vast majority of Wisconsinites believe it is wrong to fire a member of the medical profession or slap them with a lawsuit because they don’t want to be forced to participate in the deliberate destruction of human life."

Planned Parenthood and others in the pro-abortion movement have sought court action in several states to force facilities to perform abortions against their will.

In addition, these pro-abortion organizations have been lobbying congress for several years to pass legislation that would force medical schools to teach abortion or lose accreditation. So far, Congress has rejected their attempts.

ACTION: Contact Governor Doyle with your thoughts on his veto at Office of the Governor, 115 East State Capitol, Madison, WI 53702, 608-266-1212, 608-267-8983 (Fax)

Related web sites:
Governor Doyle – https://www.wisgov.state.wi.us
Doyle’s veto message – https://www.wisgov.state.wi.us/pressreleases_detail.asp?prid=513
Wisconsin Right to Life – https://www.wrtl.org