‘Born alive’ bill passes Assembly on 62-35 vote

QUORUM CALL

A GOP bill to require care for those who survive an abortion is heading to the state Senate after clearing a divided Assembly this afternoon.

The “born alive” bill passed the body on a 62-35 vote. GOP Rep. Chuck Wichgers, of Muskego, joined all Dems in opposing it.

The bill would outline care requirements for children born alive following an abortion or attempted abortion, as well as penalties for physicians who don’t adhere to the legislation. But under the bill, the mother of the child who is born alive couldn’t be prosecuted.

Dems touted Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to accept federal Medicaid expansion dollars, as well as his call to boost health care for women and infants by $28 million. They argued those initiatives would aid people across the state instead of stymieing the care physicians provide to women.

“This bill you’re pushing today is already the law of the land,” said Dem Rep. Chris Taylor, of Madison. “What isn’t the law of the land is Medicaid expansion. And you’ve made darn sure that no lives will be saved under that.”

But Republicans charged that Dems were trying to distract from the bill’s issues by focusing on the Medicaid expansion.

And Rep. Michael Schraa countered the “born alive” bill, as well as the other three abortion-related bills the chamber will take up today, “have everything to do” with health care.

“I argue the voices of the 61 million babies that have been aborted in America since Roe v. Wade, I think their voices should be heard and counted,” the Oshkosh Republican said.

The Senate is expected to take up the bill in June. Gov. Tony Evers has said he would veto the legislation, also slamming it “nothing more than a distraction” from other priorities.

Wichgers, the sole Republican who voted against the legislation, also opposed the bill during the Assembly Health Committee executive session last week.

At the time, he introduced an amendment to the bill that wasn’t taken up. It would have targeted a portion of the legislation that outlines penalties for physicians who don’t adhere to the bill. But Wichgers sought to remove immunity for the mother and insert language saying a parent or guardian couldn’t be held civilly or criminally responsible for violations they didn’t consent to.

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