by Steven Ertelt
June 13, 2005
Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — Wisconsin state Assembly committee late last week approved a pro-life conscience clause that would protect employees who do not want to be involved in abortions, sterilizations, euthanasia, or research involving unborn children.
Lawmakers said that even those who favor the activities listed in the conscience clause should favor it because it doesn’t ban those activities. Instead, it protects employees from not being forced to participate in them.
"We do not ban any activity. We simply protect the health care professional," Rep. Jean Hundertmark, a Republican, told WMTV. "There’s a real fine line between patient rights and health care worker rights and we’re trying to find a balance."
But Planned Parenthood spokesperson Chris Taylor says his group opposes the bill because it makes it more difficult for patients to obtain the services mentioned in the bill.
Dr. Cody Nikolai, a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin Medical School said UW let him out of certain activities that violated his conscience, such as research on frozen human embryos.
However, he told WMTV that other students were worried they would face repercussions and felt they couldn’t stand up for their pro-life beliefs.
"I felt the UW was very understanding, but staff changes and I think we need something that’s going to guarantee over time that students are going to be protected and allow them to practice their conscience," he said.
Those concerns fall on deaf ears over at the governor’s office as Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle, who backs abortion, says he will likely veto the bill.
"I don’t believe people’s medical care should be determined by whether a particular medical practitioner has a problem with the treatment," Doyle told reporters.
Susan Armacost, Legislative Director of Wisconsin Right to Life, says her group supports the measure.
The conscience clause now heads to the full state Assembly. Governor Doyle vetoed a similar bill last year.
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