Wisconsin has become the latest state to implement a law to protect the unborn. On July 5 Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (shown) signed SB 206, also called “Sonya's Law,” which will require women seeking an abortion to first get an ultrasound, as well as require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital near the facility where they perform the procedure. Planned Parenthood said that the new law will force the closure of some of its Wisconsin abortion facilities, and has announced a lawsuit to stop the bill.
“What the Legislature has done is to set up a system where the ability to provide abortions is contingent on the decision of a private institution and that's unconstitutional,” complained Planned Parenthood attorney Lester Pines.
In its statement Planned Parenthood insisted that the new Wisconsin law “will jeopardize women’s health by shutting down two abortion health centers and decreasing capacity by at least 50 percent in one of the two remaining abortion health centers in Wisconsin. In a subsequent press release the national abortion company called the bill “part of a nationwide effort by opponents of women’s health to end access to safe and legal abortion by requiring unnecessary hospital admitting privileges for physicians who provide abortion.” The abortion giant expressed confidence that a federal judge would overrule the law as unconstitutional.
The Wisconsin bill is part of an aggressive push by pro-life groups across the nation to make it increasingly difficult for abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood to ply their grisly trade. Early this year South Dakota passed the nation's most restrictive abortion law, banning the procedure after the sixth week of pregnancy. Similarly, Arkansas passed a law banning abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. And in April, Alabama's conservative legislature passed a measure similar to Wisconsin's, requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. In each case, Planned Parenthood has pulled out all the legal stops, filing suits to block implementation of the laws.
In a statement following Walker's low-key signing of the bill, the governor's office said the ultrasound section of the new law “improves a woman’s ability to make an informed choice that will protect her physical and mental health now and in the future.”
Susan Armacost of Wisconsin Right to Life, which lobbied the legislature for the bill's passage, thanked the governor for helping to protect the unborn. “Sonya’s Law will empower women to make truly informed decisions regarding how they will proceed with their pregnancies and will protect the lives of women who experience complications after their abortions,” Armacost explained.
She said that Planned Parenthood's announced lawsuit “is no surprise to anyone,” noting that the legal challenge will focus on the requirement that doctors have local hospital admitting privileges. “Apparently, Wisconsin's abortion clinics don't believe their abortionists need to have hospital privileges at a hospital located within 30 miles of their clinic — or anywhere at all,” she said. She recalled that prior to the law's passage, when a woman experienced complications following an abortion in a Wisconsin clinic, she would be loaded into an ambulance and sent to a hospital alone, where she would be required to explain her medical issues to an emergency room doctor. “The abortionist who performed the abortion is nowhere to be seen” in such a situation, Armacost explained. She said the new law will remedy this “deplorable situation.” She noted that thus far nine other states have passed laws requiring abortion doctors to have hospital admitting privileges.
As for the ultrasound portion of the bill, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel explained in a June 1 article that it is named after a Wisconsin woman known as Sonya, who “learned she was pregnant with her third child in November.... Sonya worried about how she could handle another child, emotionally and financially. She seriously thought about abortion.” But then the young woman saw an advertisement for a free ultrasound and decided to have one. “She learned she was seven weeks pregnant,” the Journal-Sentinel recounted. “Once she saw her child and realized his heart was beating, Sonya made an emotional connection with her baby and made the decision to carry him to term. Sonya will deliver a baby boy in July.”
Wisconsin Right to Life noted that after seeing her baby's heartbeat on the ultrasound, “Sonya fell in love with her baby and knew she had to give birth. Sonya is a true hero for women like her and the babies that will be saved.”
Photo of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker: AP Images