Wis. Catholic Conference dismayed by veto of abortion bills

Madison, Wis., Jun 21, 2019 / 05:01 pm (CNA).- As the Democratic Governor of Wisconsin vetoed Friday four bills regulating abortion, Catholics in the state expressed disappointment with the decision.

The Republican-controlled state legislature sent Gov. Tony Evers four bills June 20. They would have imposed criminal penalties on doctors who do not provide medical attention to babies born after a failed abortion; bar Medicaid funding from going to Planned Parenthood; prohibit abortions based on the baby’s sex, race, or defects; and require abortion providers to inform patients that a medical abortion may be reversed after the first dose of mifepristone.

“Everyone should have access to quality, affordable healthcare, and that includes reproductive healthcare,” Evers said June 21.

Regarding his veto of Assembly Bill 182, which would have prohibited sex, race, and disability-based abortions, Evers stated: “I object to the political interference between patients and their healthcare providers … The provisions of this bill perpetuate harmful stereotypes and put women at risk by making reproductive healthcare less accessible.”

Kim Vercauteren, executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, told CNA the conference was let down by the governor’s declaration. She said the bills signified the dignity of all women.

“In the terms of the … governor’s veto of these bills, obviously, we are disappointed and dismayed by that,” she said.

Vercauteren said the bills would protect all women, whether unborn or pregnant.

“These bills do an amazing job of trying to help women that truly respects them, whether they’re inside the womb or elsewhere,” said Vercauteren. “It shows that the bills are devoted to prevention diagnosis and care and not the termination of life.”

“It just aligns with our Catholic teaching. Our march for justice for the unborn and newly born children … is the just the recognition of everyone’s full humanity. We have an obligation to protect and promote that. We would hope the government would do the same,” said Vercauteren.

Supporters of the bills do not have enough votes to override Evers’ vetos.

In a June 21 tweet, Wisconsin’s Planned Parenthood expressed support for the governor’s decision, claiming the bills were based on inaccurate facts.

Evers “vetos a package of anti-women’s health bills aimed at misinforming the public about abortion care. These bills and their supporters are making claims that are inflammatory, offensive and blatantly false,” read the tweet.

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