Controversial abortion bill among several Walker quietly signed into law

By: Aaron Dimick, WEAU 13 News Staff Email
By: Aaron Dimick, WEAU 13 News Staff Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Controversy is brewing after Governor Scott Walker signed four hot button bills Thursday.

The new laws affect everything from abortion to schools and the workplace.

The governor signed the bills Thursday night with the news breaking Friday afternoon.

But democrats and Planned Parenthood are crying fowl, saying Walker signed the bills in secret.

They’re calling the move anti-women and cowardly by not making the signings public.

But supporters for the governor say the new laws will help women and children.

“The four bills Governor Walker signed in secret last night is curtailing access to women’s health services and access to women's health information,” said Nicole Safar, the Public Policy Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin.

Safar said the four bills have been the culmination of Wisconsin republicans’ 18th month attack on womens’ health.

“So if he's trying to drive this conservative agenda through while he's still in power, it makes sense he would do it in secret,” Safar said.

The first bill requires doctors to speak with a woman seeking an abortion alone to ensure no one is forcing her into the procedure.

Another bill comes into play with Health Care Reform in 2014, banning abortion coverage sold through a health insurance exchange, except in cases of rape, incest or medical necessity.

“What the law would do is take away private insurance coverage for abortions in Wisconsin,” Safar said.

Republican Rep. Kathleen Bernier of Chippewa Falls said she supports the bills.

“I consider it safeguarding a woman's right and prerogatives to have full and factual information,” Bernier said.

She said abortion is no easy decision, and the bills would make sure women in Wisconsin are making a thoughtful choice.

“Just taking a few moments to step back and say is this is the only decision I can make to help me in my future. I think it's showing a lot of care for women,” Bernier said.

Safar said women voters will take action against the governor with the June 5 recall election.

“Wisconsin women are watching and we'll be voting. I think he's underestimated the impact these laws will have on women,” Safar said.

Pro-Life Wisconsin is also showing support for the bills.

WEAU 13 News left messages for Governor Walker but haven’t heard back.

You can see more on the other bills that were signed posted below.

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ANTI-ABORTION BILL

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker has signed a pair of Republican bills requiring doctors to consult privately with women seeking abortions and blocking abortion coverage through health care exchanges.

The first bill requires doctors to speak with a woman seeking an abortion alone to ensure no one is forcing her into the procedure.

The other bill bans abortion coverage in policies sold through a health insurance exchange except in cases of rape, incest or medical necessity. The exchange is set up as a marketplace for small businesses and individuals to shop for health insurance coverage. It's set to begin in 2014 under last year's landmark federal health care law.

Walker signed both measures Thursday but announced the signings Friday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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ABSTINENCE BILL

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that requires schools that teach sex education to stress abstinence as the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

The Republican bill allows sex ed teachers to ignore contraception completely. Current state law requires schools that choose to teach sex education to use a multi-faceted curriculum that includes contraception use.

Pro-Life Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Catholic Conference back the bill. Opponents say the legislation is foolish and unrealistic.

Walker, a Republican, signed the bill Thursday but announced it Friday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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SCHOOL VOUCHERS

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that limits expansion of Wisconsin's school voucher program.

The voucher program subsidizes private education for students in struggling school districts. The program had been limited to the city of Milwaukee, but Republicans included new qualifiers in the state budget that extended the program throughout Milwaukee County and the city of Racine.

Opponents complained the new criteria was so broad students across the state could qualify. Rep. Robin Vos, a Republican who co-chairs the Legislature's budget committee, said that was never the intent and GOP lawmakers passed a bill that limits voucher participation to school districts in the program when the bill took effect. Any additional districts would need separate legislation to join.

Walker signed the bill Thursday but announced the signing Friday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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DISCRIMINATION DAMAGES

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that prohibits workers from collecting damages in employment discrimination cases.

Under current state law, employees who prevail in discrimination lawsuits can collect between $50,000 and $300,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. The Republican bill blocks anyone from collecting such damages in employment discrimination suits.

The state Department of Workforce Development could still award an employee back pay, costs and attorney fees, however.

Democrats say the bill hurts women who might suffer discrimination in the workplace.

Walker signed the bill Thursday but announced the signing Friday. His spokesman says it was easier to include the announcement in a broader release noting the governor signed dozens of bills over the two days.


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  • by Anonymous on Apr 10, 2012 at 10:12 AM
    Just heard that teen births are on their way down in Wisconsin so the old way of teaching birth control was obviously working. Guess we'll have to wait a year or two and see if Walker's way is better (sarcasm).
  • by Anon on Apr 10, 2012 at 06:51 AM
    Why are you all bashing Walker, read "Executive Order 13535" by Obama. Here is the first sentence "Section. 1. Policy. Following the recent enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the "Act"), it is necessary to establish an adequate enforcement mechanism to ensure that Federal funds are not used for abortion services (except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered),"
  • by To: Wisconsin Pastor on Apr 9, 2012 at 07:16 PM
    Thank you for planning to talk about life at your next sermon. I hope you will talk about the lives that will be lost when people can no longer get Badgercare (remember the Repubs cheered at the debate when someone suggested those who cannot afford health insurance should be left in the street to die). I hope you talk about parents who may no longer be able to providing life for their children -- food -- due to unemployment and no "social programs" to help. And don't forget the lives of the elderly without Social Security and Medicare and the lives of the immigrants who come here for a better LIFE.
    • reply
      by Barb on Apr 10, 2012 at 05:53 AM in reply to To: Wisconsin Pastor
      Actually, that's a great idea. Wisconsin Pastor, would you please have your congregation say some prayers for me and all of those like me who have been without a job for almost a year -- who are losing all they worked for as far as retirement -- who no longer have health insurance because of pre-existing conditions -- who have no one to speak for us because we have been abandoned by the right wingers and Walker -- or maybe we don't matter because we're adults -- maybe you think we don't deserve the support of your congregation -- or maybe, just maybe you didn't stop to think that there is more suffering going on than one topic covers.
      • reply
        by Anon on Apr 10, 2012 at 09:13 AM in reply to Barb
        Time to get off the pity pot and put the blame where it belongs. Cobra was offered to you (it's the law) and if you could not afford Cobra you could have taken a job with Manpower, Kelly Services, etc. Most of them offer affordable Health Care Plans that would have kept you insurable. Heck you may have even gotten more permanent employment if you could have just learned to keep your politics out of the workplace. 93.1% of the workforce in Wisconsin get up and go to work, not always because they want to or where they want to, but they have a need and a desire to do so.
        • reply
          by Barb on Apr 10, 2012 at 08:11 PM in reply to Anon
          I'm not sure why I'm responding, but just in case anyone's interested -- yes, Cobra was offered, but it was more than I would have gotten in unemployment. Also, all of the temporary health plans I could get (as well as permanent ones) excluded me for pre-existing conditions -- we've got a really great health care system! You don't know me, so you don't realize that there is one thing I think is absolutely deplorable and that is when any employee brings their personal life or beliefs to work with them. Oh, and by the way, I did try Manpower, etc. -- lots of others trying that as well. All I stated in my post was facts -- again, not asking anyone to pity me. Life is tough and somehow I'll get through it -- I've been through tougher times in my life and I've always been grateful that God has always been in my corner. And, finally, "Anon" I would never, ever judge you by the things you post -- I'll leave that up to higher powers!
    • reply
      by Hippie on Apr 10, 2012 at 06:02 AM in reply to To: Wisconsin Pastor
      I hope he also talks about his plan to support all the babies that he wants to save. Do you think he will build a nursery in the church basement?
      • reply
        by Orphanages Here We Come on Apr 10, 2012 at 05:16 PM in reply to Hippie
        And those institutions worked out real well in the past didn't they?! And who is going to pay for the staff of the orphanages? The food for the children? The health and dental care of those children and on and on? Better not be the "taxpayer" better be church supported.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 10, 2012 at 10:16 AM in reply to To: Wisconsin Pastor
      Better yet you need to pray your church is able to raise the funds to care for those in need as they will be depending solely on you now. Good Luck with that in this economy.
  • by Bill on Apr 9, 2012 at 07:51 AM
    The “abortion” bill isn’t going to stop anyone from getting an abortion. That’s the ploy everyone always uses...that it take the choice away. It doesn't. Its going to make people think a little more before they go get one. Don’t worry, those of you who want to kill your unborn, will still be able to do it. I however don’t want to see ONE pro abortion woman excited when she becomes pregnant. It galls me how they can be excited to find out they are pregnant, but when they DON’T want a baby, its just something they can have removed like a cyst. You can’t have it both ways. Is it a baby to you? Or isnt it?
    • reply
      by Anon on Apr 10, 2012 at 07:01 AM in reply to Bill
      Bill, don't forget about gender screening. "I don't want another boy, let's get rid of it so we can try again for a little girl."
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 10, 2012 at 09:39 AM in reply to Anon
        Oh wow.....Really??
        • reply
          by Anon on Apr 10, 2012 at 04:01 PM in reply to
          Really, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9104994/Sex-selection-abortions-are-widespread.html
  • by Discrimination on Apr 9, 2012 at 05:52 AM
    Talk about "rights". How about the right of those being discriminated against to receive some compensation for what an employer did to them? Now every employer can discriminate, hoping the person doesn't take them to court, and the employer, even if he/she loses in court, just gets a slap on the wrist and he'll/she'll discriminate again.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 9, 2012 at 05:18 AM
    This comment has been deleted.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 9, 2012 at 08:05 AM in reply to
      Walker did something....isn't that sad how anything he does will automatically be corrupt and wrong?
  • by Henry J Seroogy Location: Eau Claire on Apr 8, 2012 at 07:53 PM
    "Democrats and planned parenthood are crying FOWL" ...buck-buck-baGAWWKK!
  • by Shiloh Location: Chippewa Valley on Apr 8, 2012 at 07:40 PM
    Dear little children before you judge on whether it is right to abort an unborn human baby... but we (laws) make it illegal to harm certain plants, trees, and animals (contemplate that soberly and quietly and feel the pain of our Lord and God) ... maybe sit back and see the blessings that God will shower on our state if we lead in a return to morality and virtue...is everyone so blind to the signs of our times...AWAKE from your coldness of heart for personal pleasure and experience our crucified Jesus and see the POWER from ON HIGH...we have choices but the stakes are VERY HIGH... if you knew the Judgement hovering over your head you would be TERRIFIED...therefore CHOOSE WISELY...Extending to all PEACE, LOVE, and FORGIVENESS...BE STILL AND LISTEN!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 9, 2012 at 08:26 AM in reply to Shiloh
      You are welcome to believe in your god and govern your life accordingly. However, you need to keep your god out of my government.
      • reply
        by Diane on Apr 9, 2012 at 01:45 PM in reply to
        To Anonymous, Sorry, but your government is mine also, so I want God in my government.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Apr 9, 2012 at 09:56 PM in reply to Diane
          Then you need to move. The United States government was founded on the principle of freedom of, and by extension from, religion. "Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion".
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Apr 10, 2012 at 07:24 AM in reply to Diane
          The constitution doesn't want God in our government. I thought ALL of you tea-billies knew the constitution from front to back.
  • by gar on Apr 8, 2012 at 06:31 PM
    And why are these bills a problem? More common sense as far as I can see. Planned parenthood is a nasty organization. Making millions off the tax payers by the way.
  • by Seriously... on Apr 8, 2012 at 05:20 PM
    So all the ridiculous god talk and such aside, there is another moral discrepancy I'm experiencing with this whole thing. Hypothetically, let's say a woman purosely gets pregnant, and is entirely willing to have the child, but a complication arises which threatens not only the potential life of the fetus, but the woman carrying said fetus as well. An abortion, while elective, may be the only way to save the woman's life. By the logic imposed by banning abortion, this woman now must carry this fetus to term, give birth to the child, however unlikely either of their survival is, because the government said she doesn't get to choose if she lives or dies. unlikely situation? Yes. Impossible? No. Banning abortion is a violation of not only womens rights, but human rights as a whole.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 9, 2012 at 08:28 AM in reply to Seriously...
      Shhh.....the fundies only see things in black and white. Gray areas, extenuating circumstances like health of the mother or viability of the fetus confuse and frighten them. They think it's better for a woman to carry a risky pregnancy to term and deal with the possibility of dying, or having to deal with the still-birth of her baby than to have an abortion. They find life simpler when everything is either a "yes" or "no" answer. They lack the ability to grasp nuance and subtlety.
      • reply
        by Diane on Apr 9, 2012 at 01:48 PM in reply to
        To Anonymous, Maybe if you put your life in God's hands, He would take care of the problem. He is the Healer.
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Apr 9, 2012 at 06:25 PM in reply to Diane
          So I take it you never go to the hospital for anything??? What do you do if you break a bone??? Just sit there and suffer I guess. Don't worry though, your imaginary friend will "heal" you. LOL
        • reply
          by Anonymous on Apr 9, 2012 at 09:58 PM in reply to Diane
          Sure, he's the "healer". Tell that to the kid down the street dying of cancer. Or the starving kids in Africa. Your "god" is an imaginary friend for grown ups. The world would be a vastly better place if all the effort put into worshiping and appeasing the various "gods" was actually focused on doing something productive like feeding the hungry or providing clean water to everybody.
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