Senate GOP Passes Mandatory Ultrasound Bill


Republican state senators abruptly cut off debate this morning as they passed a bill requiring women seeking abortions to get an ultrasound.

After Democrats attacked this bill yesterday as something aimed at intimidating and bullying women, New Berlin Republican Sen. Mary Lazich took to the Senate floor to defend her plan, saying it’s what people would want if someone they loved was seeking an abortion.

“You want them to have an ultrasound. You want them to know what’s going on in that womb and what they’re doing and that they’re not going to be able to change that for the rest of their life. They make that decision, it’s over.”

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Lazich told Senators they would see a lot more laws like this from her because she thought abortion clinics were encouraging abortions.

“The mountains of women now that are regretting these abortions – you know, when it became popular in the ’60s and it was almost the thing to do, you needed to get one of them to be a woman – and now look what those women have to go through. When they hit menopause, when they get to be about 40, it’s a severe, severe attack on their mental health and on their physical health.”

Immediately after Lazich’s speech, and less than a half-hour into session this morning, Republicans called for a vote. As Democrats rose to speak, Senate President Mike Ellis cut them off: “You’re interrupting a roll call and that will not be tolerated. Sit down!”

Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald told the Associated Press afterward that he’d told Democrats debate would be limited to a half-hour today, since the Senate also debated the bill yesterday.

Democrats held an impromptu press conference after the vote. La Crosse Senator Jennifer Shilling said she was offended by Senator Lazich’s comments on abortions in the ’60s.

“This is not something that women brag about. It is a deeply personal issue between her and her doctor and her faith.”

Stevens Point Democrat Julie Lassa said Republicans had shut down the voices of the minority party.

“This is a shameful day in this body. Shameful! And I hope that they will hear from their constituents about the fact that they are taking Wisconsin in the wrong direction and they are going to be hurting women all across this state.”

While the bill would exempt women from this requirement if they’re the victims of rape or incest, Democrats say that because most rapes go unreported, this requirement could devastate a woman who’s already been traumatized. The bill passed on a 17-to-15 party line vote with Republican Senator Luther Olsen absent. It could be voted on in the State Assembly Thursday.