Republicans, heath care workers debate abortion bills

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MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Republican lawmakers are making another attempt to pass legislation they claim will save babies' lives, but health care providers argue the proposals are unnecessary and filled with misinformation. 

Most of the bills that center around abortions are bound to be vetoed by Governor Tony Evers, but if Wisconsin decides to elect a Republican governor next year, it could result in major changes to abortion laws.  

The Assembly Committee on Health held a public hearing on several Republican bills, one that would require health care professionals to provide medical care to a baby in the unlikely case they are born alive after an attempted abortion. If they don't, health care providers could face a felony or homicide charges. The Senate already passed a version of this bill last week.  

Another proposal would require medical professionals to tell their patients who are considering using medication for their abortion, Mifepristone, that it might be unsuccessful. Research shows medical abortions have a success rate of 95% percent, and if that doesn't work, women have the option to take more medicine or have a surgical abortion.  

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), the lead sponsor on the bill, said the bill is about giving women more time to rethink their options despite current law that already requires them to consult with a counselor or a doctor 24 hours before an abortion. 

"It ensures the woman is given information on how she can potentially continue the pregnancy if she changes her mind," said Vos. "This bill has nothing to do with what opponents have said try and restrict abortion, in fact, it actually empowers women by giving them information that could give them a second thought." 

Before the committee hearing, health care providers gathered at the Capitol to show their opposition to the bills, calling them harmful and misleading.  

"These bills reflect a profound inability to understand the complicated, often heart-wrenching experiences that our patients endure," said Dr. Kristin Lyerly, OB-GYN. "These proposals hurt women so much more than it could ever possibly help them, it's shameful." 

Republicans also want the state health department to start tracking where and how many abortions are conducted at medical facilities. It would also gather information about how many abortions a patient has received, how it was paid for and the reason why.  

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said there are a total of four locations that provide abortion services in Wisconsin, three of those are operated by them. 

“The bills advanced today are being pushed by politicians who are making a clear choice to incite fear and misinformation to advance their personal goal of banning abortion, criminalizing doctors and blocking access to birth control and sex education," said Mike Murray, executive director for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. 

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