Gov. Scott Walker and the Republican-controlled Legislature have put Wisconsin on another list that shouldn't exactly make us proud.
A report by the National Partnership for Women and Families describes how politicians around the country have been enacting anti-abortion laws that ignore evidence and science and mandate how health care providers must practice medicine regardless of the providers' professional judgment, in effect substituting a politician's biases for fact-based medicine.
Wisconsin, unfortunately, is a key offender, the report "Bad Medicine: How a Political Agenda Is Undermining Abortion Care and Access" proclaims.
Laws that are supposedly aimed at curtailing abortions bear no relationship to medical standards, undermine efforts to provide patient-centered care and take decision-making away from women, according to the recently released report.
It calls attention to the U.S. Supreme Court's 2016 decision that struck down two onerous Texas abortion restrictions and declared that politicians can't just make up facts to achieve their anti-abortion goals. The study reports that this is exactly what Wisconsin has done in recent years, interfering in the patient-provider relationship and promoting an ideological agenda that flies in the face of medical evidence and scientific integrity.
Examples include the law that requires women to wait 24 hours after being given information about abortion alternatives, forcing them to take two days off and make an unnecessary second trip to the clinic; another law that prohibits prescribing abortion medication via telemedicine, a major inconvenience for women in rural areas; a mandate that an abortion provider have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital (a law that has since been struck down by the courts); and yet another law that requires that only a physician can provide abortion services, in effect dismissing physician assistants and other medical occupations that are just as qualified.
To underscore just how dangerous all this can be, the nonpartisan National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine called attention to unnecessary abortion restrictions like those passed in Wisconsin and declared that they have a negative impact on a woman's ability to access quality care.
"These requirements have compounded the barriers to abortion care already faced by many women in the state, especially women of color, those who live in rural areas and women with lower incomes," added the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health. "Women deserve access to safe, quality abortion care in every state, and these medically unnecessary regulations deny them that access."
In collaboration with the national partnership, the alliance has embarked on a statewide advertising campaign to make people aware of the dangers.
Opposition to abortion is one thing, but to put women's lives in peril to achieve that ideological goal over a perfectly legal medical procedure is nothing short of outrageous.
Dave Zweifel is editor emeritus of The Capital Times. email@example.com and on Twitter @DaveZweifel.
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