Early this week Wisconsin Senate Republicans passed a series of additional restrictions on women seeking abortions. Like so many of these aggressively restrictive bills, their rhetoric is cloaked in “helping” and “protecting” women despite the fact the restrictions do neither.
SB 306 is deceptively called the Coercion and Webcam Abortion Prevention Bill and contains three main components. The first component requires doctors to speak alone and in person with a woman seeking an abortion and to inform her of services for victims of domestic abuse if they believe she’s being coerced into seeking an abortion. Current Wisconsin law has a lengthy script physicians must cover with patients 24 hours prior to the procedure but it does not specify that conversation happen “face-to-face.”
The bill also eliminates the possibility of “webcam” abortions by requiring doctors examine patients in person before prescribing abortion-inducing drugs like mifepristone. In neighboring states like Iowa and Minnesota, patients living in rural areas are able to have mifepristone prescribed via online video conference. This would not be an option for women living in rural Wisconsin.
Finally, the bill requires a woman return to an abortion clinic for a follow-up visit 12 to 18 days after being given the drug. Women who take mifepristone already have a follow-up visit, but most see their primary care physician for that follow-up. This bill forces women to have that follow-up visit at an abortion clinic, putting yet another unnecessary burden on the backs of women trying to access health care services.
The bill now moves to the Assembly before heading to Gov. Scott Walker’s desk where he is expected to sign it.
Photo from libelul60 via flickr.