Gov. Scott Walker: Anti-Union and Anti-Women
Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker is not only trying to destroy public employees’ unions. For years, he’s also been working hard to force women back into the Dark Ages: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s Abortion Crusade.
Walker’s nearly nine-year record in the Wisconsin Assembly, the legislature’s lower house, reads like a pro-life handbook, an all-out assault on abortion rights. What’s more, the many anti-abortion initiatives he backed are perfectly in sync with the assault on reproductive rights now unfolding on the national level, where House Republicans recently gutted funding for Planned Parenthood and controversially tried to redefine “rape” to limit the long-standing exceptions to the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or to save a mother’s life. …
In November 1996, Walker and Assemblywoman Bonnie Ladwig R-Caledonia announced plans to introduce a bill banning “partial-birth” abortions, or what’s medically known as dilation and extraction. Anti-abortion groups have condemned the practice, but groups that back abortion rights argue the procedure could save a woman’s life in the case of severe late-term complications during a pregnancy. Walker said partial-birth abortions are “never needed” to save lives, adding, “This procedure is not a medically recognized procedure.” (NPR has a good explainer of the procedure here.)
Walker’s effort to ban dilation and extraction mirrored an eight-year-long battle on the federal level to ban the practice. That federal fight culminated in 2003 when President George W. Bush signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, outlawing the procedure. In 2007, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of that law.
In 1997, Walker’s abortion crusade continued with a proposal banning state and local government employees from “promoting, encouraging, or counseling in favor of abortion services.” Walker’s proposal would also block “public facilities or public institutions or any equipment or any other physical asset that is owned, leased, or controlled by this state, an agency, or a local government unit” from offering abortions. Public employees would be subject to a $1,000 fine if they discussed abortions. The proposal caused a firestorm because of how it would affect the University of Wisconsin, which didn’t provide abortions but did teach and discuss them. One Democratic Assemblyman, Sheldon Wasserman of Milwaukee, said Walker’s proposal was tantamount to censorship. “It’s an outrageous and extreme position to say we’re not going to teach things to save people’s lives,” Wasserman was quoted as saying in the Capital Times. “Even the most avid pro-life people will say that. I don’t think [Assembly Republicans] know what they’re doing.”
According to the Capital Times, Wisconsin Assembly Republicans also gutted the $4 million budget for family planning resources in Wisconsin, not to mention ending all state funding for Planned Parenthood. They also proposed making it mandatory that parents be notified if their child tried to get a birth control prescription.