Scott Walker Puts Political Ambitions Over Women’s Health, Signs 5th Anti-Abortion Bill in Wisconsin
Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, against strong opposition from the state's leading doctors and medical groups, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law a 20 week abortion ban — without exceptions for rape or incest. The signing follows the governor'sstatement Wednesday that “he doesn't believe abortion should be between a woman and her doctor.” You can watch a video from Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin featuring a real woman's story about the impact that this ban would have HERE and a recent Politifact making clear that he is the most restrictive on abortion among Reagan and other GOP presidents.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“This is yet another reminder of Scott Walker’s ultimate goal: ban abortion and put politicians in the middle of a woman’s most personal health care decisions. Unfortunately, in Scott Walker’s transparent appeal to the far right of the Republican party, it’s the women of Wisconsin who pay the price.
“What’s clear is American’s don’t want this and we’ll be working now through November to ensure they know the truth about Scott Walker and his record and agenda for women’s health.”
Since becoming governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker has signed twelve anti-women’s health measures into law, five of which threaten access to safe and legal abortion. Most recently, Scott Walker signed into law a 20-week abortion ban — which he specifically insistedNOT include exceptions for rape or incest — a law opposed by leading doctors and medical groups across Wisconsin and which media outlets have deemed “cruel.”
Wisconsin under Scott Walker:
· Walker opposes abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. Scott Walker holds the extreme position that abortion should be illegal with no exceptions, including in cases of rape and incest, or to protect the life of the woman. For more than 40 years, ever since Roe, more than three-quarters of the public have said abortion should remain safe and legal and 72 percent of Republicans think abortion should be available. [YouTube, 12/13/11]
· Scott Walker has already signed five laws that threaten a woman’s ability to make her own health care decisions about her pregnancy, most recently signing a 20-week abortion ban into law — which he specifically insisted NOT include exceptions for rape or incest. When Americans understand the real-world impact of 20-week bans, a solid 60 percent of voters oppose them. A strong majority of voters — Republicans (62 percent), Democrats (78 percent), and Independents (71 percent) — say this is the wrong issue for Congress and their state legislators to be spending time on. The majority of voters in key congressional districts (56-61 percent) will be less likely to vote for the representative if they vote in favor of the 20-week abortion ban.
o Governor Walker signed a bill that forces women seeking an abortion to undergo a government-mandated ultrasound. The bill also includes a provision requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The bill was opposed by the state’s leading medical associations, including: The Wisconsin Medical Society, Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards, Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians, Wisconsin Hospital Association, and the Wisconsin Public Health Association.
o Walker signed a bill that bans abortion coverage in policies sold through the health insurance exchange, even when individual citizens are using their own dollars to purchase private insurance.
o Walker signed a bill that prohibits women from having a partner, family member, or friend at her side when she meets with her doctor to request an abortion. Doctors who break the law could be charged with a felony.
o Walker signed into the 2011 budget a restriction that prevents the University of Wisconsin Hospital from providing abortions.
· Scott Walker supports extreme and dangerous “personhood” legislation. Walker has said that he would back so called “personhood” legislation, which would ban access to safe and legal abortion and could interfere with personal, private medical decisions relating to birth control, access to fertility treatment, and management of a miscarriage. These measures are so extreme that voters have overwhelmingly rejected them, including most recently in Colorado and North Dakota. [The New York Times, 2/22/15]
· Scott Walker has worked to defund Planned Parenthood, and in 2011 ended the organization’s 16-year contract with the state to provide breast and cervical cancer screenings under the state’s well-woman program and forced the closure of five rural Planned Parenthood health centers, resulting in the disruption and loss of over 18,800 health care services for approximately 3,100 patients including lifesaving cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control, well-woman exams, pregnancy tests, STD testing and treatment, HIV screening, and referrals to a network of community resources.
· Scott Walker has repeatedly tried to eliminate Wisconsin’s Contraceptive Equity law, which requires insurance companies to cover prescription birth control. The law requires all insurance policies that contain a prescription drug benefit to cover prescription contraceptives. Walker has unsuccessfully tried to get rid of the law twice, first in his 2011-13 biennial budget, and a few years later when he supported legislation to chip away at the law and allow employers to deny women birth control based on their religious beliefs in 2013.
· Walker repealed Wisconsin’s Healthy Youth Act, which required that Wisconsin public schools teach comprehensive, sex education. The bill that Walker signed in its place requires schools to teach abstinence as the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and any discussion of using contraception is not required. Sex education is supported by the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics — and by a majority of Americans, including more than 90 percent of both parents and teens. Moreover, there is no evidence to date that abstinence-only programs delay teen sexual activity.
· Scott Walker repealed the Wisconsin Equal Pay Enforcement Act, the state’s pay equity law that allowed victims of workplace discrimination to seek damages in court. The law was enacted in response to a large gap between men and women’s compensation, but it also offered employees protection from discrimination based on race, age, disability, religion, and sexual orientation. According to research from the AAUW, a woman in Wisconsin who holds a full-time job is paid, on average, $36,884 per year while a man who holds a full-time job is paid $46,801 per year. This means that women in Wisconsin are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to men, amounting to a yearly wage gap of $9,917 between men and women who work full time in the state.
· Scott Walker supports overturning the Affordable Care Act. Wisconsin joined a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act just months after Walker took over the governor’s seat. The law is a historic advancement for women’s access to health care, ensuring that women can’t be charged more for health insurance or denied coverage for so-called “pre-existing conditions” like breast cancer or domestic abuse, as well as ensuring that women have access to no-copay birth control, saving women up to $600 a year. The law has helped over 16 million Americans gain access to affordable health care, including more than207,000 Wisconsinites.
In Scott Walker’s own words:
· "In my past four years as governor, we have made substantial progress in the fight for our pro-life values in Wisconsin. We defunded Planned Parenthood. We prohibited abortion from being covered by health plans in a health exchange." [ScottWalker Open Letter on Life, 3/3/15]
· When asked by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to clarify his position in wanting to ban abortion with no exceptions, “[Y]ou oppose abortion even in cases of rape and incest, tell me if I got that right?” Walker responded, “That’s correct.” [YouTube,12/13/11]
· Not only did Scott Walker agree to sign a 20-week ban before one was even introduced, he also asked that the bill be sent to his desk with no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. Walker made the insulting comment that women only care about pregnancy from rape “in the initial months.” [Talking Points Memo, 6/3/15]
· Scott Walker has been clear about his record and position on abortion, stating: “I am pro-life like most Republican governors are pro-life. I don’t apologize for that…” [Christian Science Monitor, 11/22/13]
· He also said: “My policies throughout my career have earned a 100% rating with pro-life groups in Wisconsin,” Walker wrote in an open letter in March. “Just in my first term I signed numerous pieces of pro-life legislation and I will continue working for every life.” [Scott Walker Open Letter on Life, 3/3/15]
· Scott Walker has said that minimum wage doesn’t “serve... a purpose” and that minimum-wage jobs are “overwhelmingly jobs for young people.” In fact, it is women who “overwhelmingly” make minimum wage. Women represent about two-thirds of minimum-wage workers across the country, and more than half of minimum wage workers in Wisconsin are women. Teenagers only make up a quarter of minimum-wage earners. [International Business Times, 10/24/14; PolitiFact, 1/13/14;National Women's Law Center, 1/5/15]
· When criticized by conservatives for a TV ad that his campaign ran weeks before his re-election campaign in 2014 in which Walker appears more moderate on the issue of abortion, Walker insisted that his views have remained the same on abortion: “I’m pro-life. My position is consistent on that. They’re taking an ad out there that talked about what the law did in the state which was endorsed by Wisconsin Right to Life, so it’s a pro-life law.” [fox6now.com, 3/15/15]
· Scott Walker has suggested he will support harsh anti-abortion legislation — just as he has at the state level — at the federal level. “My point is we acted on the grounds that we have legally to be able to act under the Supreme Court’s decision. We’ll act that way at the federal level if we were in a position like that as well. But ultimately, it is a life.” [Fox News, 3/1/15]
About Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
Planned Parenthood affiliates provide health care to 2.7 million patients every year — including lifesaving cancer screenings, preventive health care, birth control, and abortion services. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading women’s health provider and advocate. Planned Parenthood Action Fund works to ensure that people continue to have access to those health care and education services — by advocating for laws and policies that protect women’s health, and educating voters about how candidates’ positions would affect women’s health.
If you have any questions, please contact the Planned Parenthood Action Fund media line at [email protected].
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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.