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HomeBreaking NewsDan Knodl: Proposed Legislation Would Update Wisconsin Abortion Law

Dan Knodl: Proposed Legislation Would Update Wisconsin Abortion Law

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This column was written by state Rep. Dan Knodl, who is running for state Senate.

This week, I joined my Republican colleagues in introducing legislation to create needed, common-sense changes to our state’s abortion law.

Following last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson, our state’s abortion law reverted to a statute prohibiting all abortions save those performed to save the life of the mother. In the aftermath of this decision, state governments now bear the important responsibility to update and clarify our abortion laws.

The life of the mother exception requires clarification in the wake of medical advances, and wide majorities of both Republicans and Democrats support exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape and incest.

For that reason, I have co-sponsored a bill authored by Senator Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) and State Representative Donna Rozar (R-Marshfield) which was drafted following extensive discussions with the medical community.

The bill does three things to clarify existing abortion law. First, it updates the law’s language to provide better legal protections for abortions performed to protect the life and health of the mother. Second, it ensures that removal of
fetal remains following a miscarriage does not qualify as an abortion. Finally, it adds exceptions from the law for rape and incest. While I am proudly pro-life, I respect the need to address these tragic circumstances.

This abortion legislation cannot be the final word on the matter. We must continue to make appropriate changes to state law in order to help reduce unplanned pregnancies and provide necessary support for mothers and families. To that end, I am also joining my Republican colleagues in advancing a bill to allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control to women without the need to go to the doctor. We have also brought forward a bill to expand the postpartum eligibility period for Medicaid and are taking action to streamline the adoption process to ensure that more families are able to adopt.

Sadly, Governor Evers and the Democratic Party are determined to label these positions as “extremist.” I would remind them that not a single Democratic legislator voted last session to protect the lives of babies born alive following failed abortions. They also opposed bills to protect unborn children from abortions performed because of race, sex, or disability. These passed with Republican support, but the governor vetoed all of these bills. Who exactly are the extremists here?!?

That truth is that most Wisconsinites do not want the status quo that existed under Roe, when we had abortion legalized far beyond the public’s comfort level and even more lax than what exists in all European countries with the exception of Iceland.

According to a Gallup poll conducted last year, a majority of Americans believe abortion should be illegal following the first trimester. A Marquette poll also found a majority of Wisconsinites support at least some restrictions on abortion. What they want is reasonable, common-sense exceptions and restrictions. The only voices advocating for them right now are coming from the Republican caucus.

This column was written by state Rep. Dan Knodl, who is running for state Senate.

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