Wisconsin governor signs contentious abortion, sex education billsWisconsin Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed a set of contentious GOP bills barring abortion coverage through health insurance exchanges, requiring doctors to consult privately with women seeking abortions and mandating sex education teachers stress abstinence.
By: Associated Press report, Associated Press
MADISON — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed a set of contentious GOP bills barring abortion coverage through health insurance exchanges, requiring doctors to consult privately with women seeking abortions and mandating sex education teachers stress abstinence.
Democrats have ripped the measures as an all-out attack on women. Walker, a Republican, signed the bills Thursday but didn't announce the move until midday Friday, when his office released a list of dozens of bills he signed Thursday and Friday.
Walker's spokesman, Cullen Werwie, said it was simpler to lump all the bills signed over the two days into one announcement.
The first bill bans abortion coverage through policies obtained through a health insurance exchange, set to be created under the federal health-care reform law starting in 2014. The only exceptions would be in cases of rape, incest or medical necessity.
The exchange is meant to be a marketplace for small businesses and individuals to shop for health insurance coverage. The federal law allows states to prohibit abortions through it.
The second bill requires a woman seeking an abortion to undergo a physical exam and consult with a doctor alone, away from her friends and family. The doctor must determine whether someone is pressuring the woman into the procedure. Doctors who break the law could be charged with a felony.
The Wisconsin Medical Society contends the bill interferes with the doctor-patient relationship. The association, as well as several Democrats, asked Walker to veto the measure.
The sex education bill requires teachers in schools that offer sex education to stress abstinence as the only sure way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The bill also declares that sex education teachers do not have to address contraception. That's a dramatic shift from current state law, which requires teachers to instruct students on birth control options.