Wisconsin Republicans seem to be balking on their recent push for additional abortion restrictions after a pro-choice Democratic Senator promised he would raise “an all-out hell” if two controversial anti-abortion bills ever reached the Senate floor.
The state’s Senate Health Committee narrowly moved forward a bill that would ban sex-selective abortions, but pro-choice activists say such a measure is unnecessary, since abortions are rarely performed for that purpose.
The second bill to come out of the health committee—the one drawing the biggest uproar from pro-choice advocates—would ban health insurance coverage of abortion for public workers and would exempt religious organizations from having to provide insurance for birth control. An employee could only get insurance-covered contraceptives if they were prescribed for health reasons besides preventing pregnancy.
State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, a Democrat, believes no employer should be given power over a woman’s access to abortion or contraception. He said to those who sponsored the bill,
Government intrusion like this is shocking [...] You don’t want this headline. You don’t want this story. You don’t want this hassle that’s about to happen.
On Friday, Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (Republicans dominate the state’s Senate, 18-15) delayed a vote on the bills until next year. His spokesperson said they wanted to end the year “on a noncontroversial note,” but that the bills could be expected to appear again on the agenda in early 2014.
Anita Little is associate editor of Ms. magazine. Follow her on Twitter.