Politics

Wisconsin governor says he'll veto GOP abortion bills

Evers vows to veto 'born alive' bill, 3 others

(CNN) - Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has promised to veto the "born alive" bill and three other Republican-backed state bills aimed at reducing abortions if they end up on his desk.

The slate of bills headed to the Republican-led state Senate come as abortion opponents nationwide are attempting to restrict abortion rights at the state level, bringing the issue into the forefront of the national political debate. The recent wave of state legislation has led to court challenges and abortion rights advocates mobilizing to protest the constraints being placed on abortion.

"We shouldn't be limiting the right for women to make their own healthcare decisions," Evers argued in a tweet Tuesday. "That's why I'll veto the bills passed by the Assembly last week if they arrive on my desk. It's time to listen to women."

Evers told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last month that he planned to veto the "born alive" bill, which the GOP-led General Assembly approved last Wednesday in a 62-35 vote.

The measure, Assembly Bill 179, would mandate that health professionals do all they could to keep a baby alive if it was "born alive" and would penalize anyone who let a baby die.

Under the bill, doctors and health care providers could face life sentences in prison for "intentionally causing the death of a child born alive" after a failed abortion. The bill would not penalize the mother.

In a statement Tuesday, the Assembly majority leader, Republican state Rep. Jim Steineke, called it "unbelievable" that a bill that "simply protects infants outside of the womb is not palatable for Governor Evers."

He argued Evers' "rationale" proves the need for the bill, "because apparently to our governor, even born, breathing infants still qualify as 'healthcare decisions' for women."

Three other bills, which also passed the Assembly last Wednesday, would require doctors inform the woman that she may be able to continue her pregnancy if she takes an abortion-inducing drug; ban women from seeking an abortion based on the unborn child's race, sex, or disabilities; and cut funding for abortion providers including Planned Parenthood.

The four bills now head to the state Republican-majority Senate for consideration.

Wisconsin is one of many state legislatures working to pass anti-abortion bills. Several states including Mississippi, Ohio, Georgia, have already passed "heartbeat bills" banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Alabama passed the country's most restrictive abortion law, with the goal of getting the legislation before the US Supreme Court to challenge Roe v. Wade.

States like New York and Vermont, with majority Democratic legislatures, have passed legislation that provides protections for abortion procedures. Maine's House passed a bill Tuesday that would expand certain health care professionals who could perform abortions in the state.

And Nevada's majority-female Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that would rewrite existing state laws to no longer require doctors to tell women about the "emotional implications" of an abortion and repeal some criminalized activities related to the procedure.

CNN's Eli Watkins, Caroline Kelly and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.


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