by Steven Ertelt
September 28, 2005
Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — The Wisconsin state Senate approved two measures including one that would require abortion practitioners to tell women considering a late-term abortion that the unborn child will feel intense pain and another protecting medical professionals from being forced to participate in anti-life practices.
The conscience clause legislation would protect medical staff who don’t want to be required by their employers to participate in abortions, euthanasia, assisted suicides, sterilizations, in vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research or human cloning.
The fetal pain bill is a response to research showing that unborn children feel excruciating pain from abortion procedures as early as 20 weeks into the pregnancy. A woman considering an abortion after that point would be told that information and given a chance to offer the baby anesthesia before the abortion.
Pro-life groups support both measures and hope the fetal pain bill will prompt some women to reconsider having an abortion.
However, Gov. Jim Doyle has already said he would veto both measures.
The bill both received mostly party line votes with a couple of Democrats joining the Republicans to support the pro-life measures. The conscience clause bill received a 21-12 vote and the state Senate approved the fetal pain bill 21-11.
Senate Democrats offered 11 amendments to weaken the conscience clause bill but all of them were defeated.
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. Wisconsin Right to Life, supports the measure and actively campaigned for it.
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.
The state Senate also approved a proposal to require teaching abstinence in public schools as a means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. That measure passed 24-9.