I was reading today that the Ohio House will be voting on a bill that will help stop women from being forced into a decision to have an abortion. If the bill passes the Ohio House, let’s hope that it doesn’t suffer the same fate as the Wisconsin Coercive Abortion Prevention Act, a similar piece of legislation. The pro-abortion controlled Wisconsin State Senate refused to even hold a public hearing on the bill and it died at the end of the legislative session. It didn’t matter one bit to the State Senate leadership that the measure had passed the Assembly on a strong bi-partisan vote of 65 to 32. Keeping their pro-abortion constituency happy was apparently more important to the State Senate leadership than protecting the lives of women.
After decades of legalized abortion, we now know that many women feel forced by others to have an abortion against their will. Such coercion can escalate into physical violence or even murder, which is the leading cause of death among pregnant woman. Like the Ohio measure, the purpose of the Wisconsin legislation is to protect women who are being coerced into having an abortion.
A woman has a right to refuse to consent to an abortion and her consent is not voluntary if any person is using coercion to compel her to consent to an abortion against her will. In fact, it is against the law for an abortion provider to perform an abortion upon a woman against her will. The Wisconsin bill would act as a deterrent to coerced abortion by requiring the abortion provider to make sure that a woman understands that it is against the law for an abortion to be performed on a her against her will and to offer help to women who are being threatened with physical abuse unless she submits to an abortion.
Isn’t this the least the Wisconsin State Senate could have done to protect the lives of vulnerable women?
The State Senate didn’t think so. After months of the bill languishing in Sen. Jon Erpenbach’s committee, they finally had a chance to protect women from abortion-related coercion and violence on March 11, 2008 when Sen. Mary Lazich made a motion to suspend the rules to remove the Wisconsin Coercive Abortion Prevention Act from Erpenbach’s committee and onto the Senate floor for a vote.
But alas, the vote came down along party lines and the motion failed. Not even the “right-to-life” senators in the majority party, including the Democratic author of the bill, had the courage to buck their leadership and vote to do the right thing.
Unless the makeup of the State Senate changes, this is the sort of thing we can expect to continue in that house of the legislature.
But it could get much, much worse if the leadership changes in the Assembly. The right-to-life majority in that house is extremely slim and the loss of just a few right-to-life representatives will mean no right-to-life legislation will advance and radically pro-abortion measures will be passed by both houses of the legislature and sent to the governor, who will gladly sign them into law.
If the State Senate could not even act in this instance to protect pregnant women from violence, imagine how much worse it will be if the Assembly’s right-to-life majority is lost!