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Wisconsin governor signs bill restricting abortion

July 06, 2013|By Devin Kelly
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a contentious Republican bill Friday that would require women seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound of the fetus before the procedure. Opponents have sued to stop the law.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a contentious Republican bill Friday… (Scott Bauer / Associated…)

Wisconsin this week became the latest state to pass legislation restricting abortions, though opponents of the measure quickly filed suit. 

The bill, signed Friday by Gov. Scott Walker, would require women to view an ultrasound of the fetus before an abortion. Providers would be required to point out the fetus’ features on the ultrasound.

In addition, doctors performing the procedure are required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within a 30-mile radius.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Service, both opponents of the bill, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Madison to block the law from taking effect Monday, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.

The American Civil Liberties Union also sued. Planned Parenthood has abortion clinics in Milwaukee, Madison and Appleton; Affiliated has one in Milwaukee, according to the Journal-Sentinel.

Abortion clinic operators say the bill would cut the number of clinics offering abortions in Wisconsin from four to two, and one of the remaining clinics would have to significantly cut back on operations, the newspaper reported.

Planned Parenthood contends the law puts an undue burden on a woman's right to choose abortion. The Republican-majority Legislature passed the bill a month ago. 

Other states have passed similar restrictions.

In April, Alabama approved a measure requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit, and a federal judge last month temporarily blocked the law.

In late March, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple signed a law outlawing abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, making that state the most restrictive in the nation. There is only one abortion clinic in North Dakota and it has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to block the law.

Three weeks earlier, Arkansas passed a law that bans most abortions after 12 weeks. A federal judge there has temporarily blocked that law.

And that same month, a federal judge struck down an Idaho law prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks, ruling that the so-called fetal pain law violates U.S. Supreme Court prohibitions against unduly impeding a woman’s ability to seek an abortion before her fetus is able to live outside the womb.

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devin.kelly@latimes.com

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