by Steven Ertelt
September 14, 2007
Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — A Wisconsin legislative panel held a hearing on Thursday about a bill designed to help women avoid forced or coerced abortions. Under the measure, abortion practitioners must do more to make sure women are not having an abortion because a partner or parent pressured them.
Should abortion facility staff determine pressure is present, they must refer the woman in question to places that can help her deal with family issues or domestic abuse.
Rep. Mary Lazich, a Republican from New Berlin, is one of the key backers of the legislation.
“This bill would make sure the physician and qualified attending people spend that extra inch in terms of conversation with the woman to ensure it’s not a coercive abortion and the woman has assistance in terms of information and education," she told the Badger Herald newspaper.
Lazich cited reports from the Elliot Institute in Illinois which has interviewed women who have abortions. It finds forced or coerced situations in as many as 64 percent of the abortion cases.
State Rep. Mark Gundrum, another supporter, said he backed the bill because he has heard of numerous abortion cases involving undo pressure on women to have an abortion.
He said that, in many cases, the pressure comes from a husband or boyfriend or from the parents or fathers of the women.
“This isn’t talking about providing health care,” Gundrum said, according to the newspaper. “This is just requiring to make sure that the consent is freely given, and if it’s a victim of abuse, there’s some kind of outreach method.”
But State Rep. Gordon Hintz, an Oshkosh Democrat, opposed the bill and claimed it is unnecessary.
“Current state laws require that physicians need to orally inform patients that consent means voluntary,” Hintz said. “That includes making sure [patients] know they can’t be forced to do it.”
State Senator Roger Breske, a Democrat and a co-sponsor of the measure, says this is the kind of pro-woman bill that puts the interests of women first.
Women who felt pressured to have abortions, such as Robin Willegal of Brodhead, talked about their experiences.
She said her husband made her have an abortion after she found she was pregnant because she had an affair and the couple didn’t know the father of the baby.