Women In Assembly Give Emotional Testimony In Opposition To Abortion Bill

wisconsin state capitol at night

Women in the state Assembly gave emotional speeches Thursday night on how a bill requiring ultrasounds before abortions might affect their daughters.

The debate included a revelation from a Democratic lawmaker that she was raped as a child.

Rep. Mandy Wright, D-Wausau, started her speech by apologizing to her parents. She then told lawmakers how she was raped by her cousin when she was eight years old, saying that it was the first time she’d spoken about it publicly.

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“This has been kept private with my family for good reason. It was not reported. There’s a reason that only 19 percent of rapes are ever reported.”

Wright and other Democrats say that’s significant because while women who report rapes would be exempt from getting ultrasounds before abortions, women who don’t report rapes would not. Wright said the bill was re-victimizing her and she worried what it would mean for her three daughters.

“And they are getting close to womanhood. And God forbid they have the same thing happen to them that happened to me and they actually be of child-bearing age.”

A sponsor of the bill, Rep. Pat Strachota, R-West Bend, said it was inspired by women who got abortions and regretted it. She said if any of her three daughters ever considered an abortion, she’d want them to see an ultrasound first.

“To see what was inside their body and that they could make, I think, an informed decision and hopefully change their mind as to going forward with it.”

The bill passed on a party line vote and heads now to Governor Scott Walker, who has said he will sign it. Assembly Republicans also passed a bill to ban health insurance coverage of abortions for state and local government employees as well as another letting people sue doctors for performing “sex selective” abortions.