On Thursday, The Handmaid’s Tale became even less fictional. The State Assembly of Wisconsin approved a bill further blocking health insurance plans for state employees from covering abortions, and Republican Representative Scott Allen of Waukesha not only supported the bill, but posited that anyone with a uterus actually has an obligation to reproduce in order to help increase labor force.
“Labor force shortages are tied to population declines, and labor force shortages are a limiting factor in economic growth. And limited economic growth poses a problem when government tries to pay for public services and infrastructure,” Allen said in a clip shared by NARAL Pro-Choice America. “In spite of this, Mr. Speaker, ironically, the Democrats continue their effort to support the abortion industry.”
Yes, you read that right: Allen seems to believe that access to safe abortions is stunting the population and the workforce.
As of now, Wisconsin state health insurance plans cover abortions that are deemed “medically necessary,” but there is no definition of what is considered a "medically necessary" abortion. Assembly Bill 128 would only permit state health insurance plans to cover abortions in instances of rape, incest, or situations in which a doctor verifies the pregnancy would be a threat to the woman’s life, as reported by WIZM - La Crosse News. This supposedly seeks to clarify the ambiguity surrounding what constitutes as a medically necessary procedure but, as quoted in U.S. News & World Report, Republican Senator Terry Moulton said that he really is hoping that “this bill may reduce incentives for abortions and thereby possibly reduce some abortions."
According to The Wisconsin State Journal, lawmakers initially attempted and failed to pass the bill in 2013. This time, it passed 61-35 votes, and will now move to State Senate. But many awesome Wisconsinites are already speaking out and fighting back, among them Nicole Safar, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s executive director.
“The very reason we buy insurance is to protect ourselves and our families from catastrophic health events becoming catastrophic financial events. Assembly Bill 128 takes away this protection,” Safar said in a statement. “Women in Wisconsin should not be subject to these continued attempts to roll back insurance coverage based solely on a few legislators’ political agenda. A woman and her doctor are the ones who should be making critical health care decisions — not politicians.”
As reported by WIZM, Democratic Representative JoCasta Zamarripa added, “These are therapeutic procedures that are medically necessary for the life of a woman, and here [the bill is] chipping away again at a legal and safe medical procedure.”
Learn more about Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and how to help, donate, or receive email updates.
Top photo via legis.wisconsin.gov.
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Lydia Wang is a writer, a Pisces, and one of BUST's digital editors. Find her on Twitter or say hi: firstname.lastname@example.org.