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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

'Compassionate Care' bill again set for vote

The state Assembly will vote on the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Bill on Wednesday, a bill that began debate six years ago. 


The bill, AB 377, would mandate every hospital to provide rape victims information and access to emergency contraception so unintended pregnancy can be prevented.  


State Rep. Terry Musser, R-Black River Falls, is one of the authors of the bill. He said he was confident the bill would pass the Assembly and said it was encouraging the bill was restored to its original form in the Assembly last month.  


After the bill passed the Senate an amendment was added in the Republican-controlled Assembly Judiciary and Ethics Committee that supporters said gutted"" the bill. The amendment and subsequent attempts to alter the bill were defeated in a series of votes in December, with the original version of the bill to be voted on Wednesday. 


Musser said he was not worried about any more amendments being added. 


The Democrat-controlled state Senate has already passed the bill, with a 27-6 vote. According to the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the bill is supported by 82 percent of Wisconsin voters.  


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WCASA said in a statement that around one-third of Wisconsin hospitals provide emergency contraception to rape victims. 


Sara Finger, a spokesperson for the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Coalition, said the bill is likely to pass. She said the votes in the Senate and Assembly show bipartisan support for the legislation.  


The anti-abortion group Pro-Life Wisconsin opposes the bill. PLW State Director Peggy Hamill said certain forms of emergency contraception described in the bill are capable of causing chemical abortion should fertilization occur during sex.  


According to Hamill, some forms of emergency contraception prevent a newly formed human embryo from implanting in a mother's womb.  


She said if the bill does pass, then hospitals and doctors would be forced to violate their rights of conscience granted to them by the U.S. Constitution. 


The state's other large anti-abortion group Wisconsin Right to Life is neutral on the bill. The bill is supported by the American Medical Association.

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