Abortion-related legislation has become even more popular ever since President Donald Trump won the election. Now, one state is taking its turn at introducing legislation that will make life a little harder for women seeking abortions. Wisconsin could eliminate abortion coverage from government workers' health care plans, dealing a blow to the state's female public workers.
It's unfortunately not a new tactic to ban abortion coverage for government workers. In fact, it's become more common. In the Wisconsin bill, the only exceptions to the law would be for rape, incest, or to preserve the life of the mother. However, there are so many other reasons that women choose to have an abortion. As Democratic Rep. Chris Taylor said in the Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel, the bill would mean that women with severe complications late in their pregnancies would not be able to use their insurance for abortions.
Covering abortion is already illegal in Wisconsin's Medicaid program, as well as the Affordable Care Act state exchange programs, except in the case that the woman's life is in danger, her physical health is severely compromised, or the pregnancy is a result from rape or incest.
This bill may not seem like a too-huge a setback in terms of abortion rights — after all, it's not banning abortion after 20 weeks for everyone, or even a "heartbeat" bill wherein the mother cannot obtain an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected at about six weeks — however, cutting off funding for abortions is still harmful, and still moves to strip them their rights to their bodies.
Public workers could not use their government-sponsored health plans for abortions in most cases under the bill. https://t.co/xWwbjqtpB2— Journal Sentinel (@journalsentinel) April 19, 2017
Wisconsin already has quite a few existing restrictions on abortion. According to Guttmatcher, women seeking abortions must receive state counseling that discourages her from going through with the procedure. There's also a 24-hour ban on the abortion. Women are also required to undergo an ultrasound and the doctor is required to show the woman an image of her fetus. There is also a 20-week ban on abortions, except in the case that the woman's life is in danger.
Overall, this specific proposed law probably won't affect many. However, the fact that Wisconsin lawmakers are so concerned with restricting women's ability to get abortions is a worrying trend. When lawmakers cannot outright ban abortions, the next best option is to make it harder for women to pay for them. That way, anti-abortionists get to claim that women can still obtain them, while making it much harder for them to actually do so.