Wisconsin governor vetoes 4 bills restricting abortion

Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed a slew of bills restricting abortion on Friday, blocking measures that would have impeded abortion access by implicating doctors and cutting federal Planned Parenthood funding.

“Everyone should have access to quality, affordable healthcare, and that includes reproductive healthcare,” Evers said in a statement Friday. “Politicians shouldn’t be in the business of interfering with decisions made between patients and their healthcare providers.”

The move comes as other Democratic governors have signed legislation prioritizing abortion protections in response to Republican state legislatures advancing bills restricting abortion access, an effort to force a potential Supreme Court challenge to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

One Wisconsin bill would have slapped doctors who fail to “preserve the life and health” of fetuses that survive attempted abortions — including transporting them to hospitals — with sentences of up to six years in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000. Doctors would face life in prison for completing the abortion — “the same penalty as first-degree intentional homicide.”

Three other bills would require that providers inform individuals seeking the abortion-inducing drug regimen including mifepristone of a time window to potentially reverse course, would prevent abortions based on a fetus’ sex, race or disability and would end Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood.

Evers vetoed all four bills in a ceremony Friday.

Wisconsin Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, a Republican, said in a statement that he was “incredibly saddened, though not surprised” by Evers’ veto, promising to continue fighting such measures.

“From introduction, to public hearings, to a rally just yesterday, people have come out in droves to support these common sense, life-saving measures,” he added. “Unfortunately, Governor Evers has once again made clear that he believes protecting babies in Wisconsin simply isn’t a productive use of his time.”

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin thanked Evers for vetoing the measures, slamming them as “aimed at misinforming the public about abortion care.”

“These bills and their supporters are making claims that are inflammatory, offensive and blatantly false,” the group tweeted.

The package of four bills passed the State Senate earlier this month. Evers had promised to veto them after they passed the State Assembly in May.

“We shouldn’t be limiting the right for women to make their own healthcare decisions,” he tweeted at the time. “That’s why I’ll veto the bills passed by the Assembly last week if they arrive on my desk. It’s time to listen to women. #StopTheBans”