MADISON, Wis. - A bill proposed by Wisconsin Republicans would ban all state and local government employees from performing, facilitating or encouraging abortions while acting within the scope of their job duties.
The Taxpayer Abortion Subsidy Prevention Act would also prohibit the use of state-owned property for anything related to performing or promoting abortions.
"The bill is intended to prevent a taxpayer subsidy for abortion, either in terms of employees or facilities," said the bill's author Senator Andre Jacque (R-De Pere).
"There's no question that this bill is unconstitutional," Democratic Senator Kelda Roys said. " They want to control not just what healthcare we can receive, but what information we can share. That's very scary."
Sen. Jaque says the law was inspired by UW programs he says promote and facilitate abortion on the state's dime.
"I think in Wisconsin, we've seen a number of occasions where local officials at either the state or the local level, have been involved in procuring or providing abortion," said Sen. Jacque. "Certainly most notably with the UW Hospital Clinics Authority, where you have had actual UW doctors, as well as medical residents, on state time and benefits that are actively providing abortions."
Since the overturn of Roe v. Wade, UW gynecology students have had to travel across state lines to learn to perform abortion care.
Sen. Jacque says the bill would only apply to state employees while they're on the clock.
"The bill only is able to apply to those who are acting within the scope of their public employment," said Sen. Jacque. "So it does not involve anything that is done in somebody's private life, outside of state time."
But while Jacque says the main focus is to keep taxpayer money from going to abortion care, Democrats have bigger concerns.
Roys says since the overturn of Roe v Wade, she's made it a priority to share information about abortion access with her constituents.
"That's the kind of information, whether I'm making a post on Facebook or talking to a constituent who has called and asked, that Senator Jacque wants to criminalize," said Sen. Roys. "It's a truly an un-American assault on our fundamental freedoms."
When asked if his bill would ban abortion rallies that encourage the procedure on state property, Sen. Jacque said that's a legal question that would need to be worked out.
Currently, the bill is being circulated before cosponsorships before potentially being assigned to a committee for a hearing. If it were to pass both houses, it's unlikely that Gov. Evers would sign it into law.
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