2015 | Week of June 1 – #1100
Wisconsin has the opportunity to enact into law what is arguably the most important pro-life legislation we have ever had. But some of us are asking, “Is this bill the very best it can be? When it comes to saving babies, do we want good, better or best??
This week the Senate and Assembly Health Committees are holding a joint hearing on a bill known as the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.” Normally, the Senate and Assembly committees would hold separate hearings. A joint hearing, which obviously streamlines the process, makes it clear that this bill is on the proverbial legislative fast-track.
Republican State Senator Mary Lazich from West Allis and Republican State Representative Jesse Kremer from Kewaskum are the lead authors on this proposal and have been joined by over 30 of their Republican colleagues. The basic intent of the bill is to make it illegal for abortions on unborn babies who are at or beyond 20 weeks gestation because science and medicine acknowledge that by that stage of in utero development, the tiny human feels pain.
Unlike previous bills that increase the information a woman should have prior to having an abortion or building in other safeguards such as protection against coercion, this bill boldly says no abortions if the baby is late into the second trimester of development. Therefore, we definitely support the big-picture concept of this bill and want it to be the very best, life-saving bill possible.
Wisconsin Family Council questions the necessity for having a “medical emergency” exception in the bill. We believe this exception is unnecessary and could result in significant abuse for those who have no qualms about dismembering an unborn baby who could live outside the womb.
The medical emergency language says it is ok for a doctor to abort a baby at or beyond 5 months gestation if, “in a physician’s reasonable medical judgment” an abortion was the only way to save the mother’s life or to prevent “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function” of the mother.
That means a woman who is 20 weeks or more pregnant has been in a severe car accident and is in an Emergency Room could end up having an attending physician determine that an abortion of her baby is the only way to save her life, based on that physician’s “reasonable medical judgment.”
The problem with this is that today with advancements in science and medical technology, that either/or situation is virtually never reality; we can deal with these emergencies as both/and. Even former abortionists assert that medical personnel have the ability now to save both mother and baby even in extreme situations. That said, if the baby inadvertently dies during the course of treating the mother so as to save her life or prevent irreversible harm to a major bodily function, while profoundly sad, that is far different from making a purposeful decision to abort—to kill by dismemberment an unborn child. Under current Wisconsin law, if a baby died in this scenario, the attending physician would not be charged with a crime.
Some assert that earlier Supreme Court decisions demand this medical emergency language. Anyone who knows the case in question, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, knows that Casey is bad law, concocted rather like Roe v. Wade by judicial activists to advance a political agenda. Bills such as Wisconsin’s proposed Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection act and the very similar federal-level bill that just passed the US House are going to be challenged in court. That’s just the way it is today. So why not push the court to deal with the reality that these bills are about the babies and the pain they feel and that today we don’t need loose medical emergency language to that allows for a physician to do a direct abortion to purportedly save the mother.
This major piece of pro-life legislation needs to be the very best it can be. Removing the medical emergency language doesn’t jeopardize the mother. It keeps the focus where it should be—on the baby and the pain he feels, while also recognizing that medical science can save both the mother and the baby without resorting to a horrific, pain-inducing, life-taking, intentional abortion. We think this change makes a good bill not just better but best.
This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you the prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”