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The Latest: GOP urges panel to OK born-alive bill

May 7, 2019

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Latest on a package of Republican-authored anti-abortion bills (all times local):

10:25 a.m.

Republican lawmakers are urging the Assembly Health Committee to approve a bill that would require abortion providers to care for babies that are born as a result of an abortion attempt or face prison.

National data shows such occurrences are rare and it’s not clear if any happen in Wisconsin. State health officials don’t track such incidents.

The health committee held a public hearing on the measure Tuesday. The bill’s authors, Rep. Jim Steineke and Sen. Roger Roth, told committee members that they should do everything they can to clarify that when a child takes a breath the child can’t be killed. Roth told the committee it’s a universal truth that doctors should protect what he called “such delicate life” without hesitation.

Committee Democrats argued that existing state homicide statutes would come into play in born-alive scenarios and called the bill unnecessary. Committee Chairman Joe Sanfelippo countered that the measure would remove any room for interpretation in court.

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9:35 a.m.

Republican legislators are defending a package of anti-abortion bills in front of the Assembly Health Committee.

Dozens of people packed a public hearing on the bills in the state Capitol on Tuesday. The proceeding is expected to last all day.

The bills would cut off Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood, outlaw abortions based on the fetus’ race, sex or defects, require providers to tell women seeking drug-induced abortions the process can be reversed and require providers to care for babies born alive as a result of an abortion.

Sen. Duey Stroebel and Rep. Barbara Dittrich, the authors of the Planned Parenthood defunding bill, began the hearing by telling the committee taxpayers shouldn’t fund abortions. They said Medicaid dollars that go to Planned Parenthood could be handed to other health care providers.

Democrats on the panel questioned whether other providers could handle the influx of Planned Parenthood patients forced to seek care elsewhere.

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8:25 a.m.

Advocates on both sides of the abortion debate are set to spar in front of an Assembly panel considering a package of Republican-authored anti-abortion bills.

The Assembly Health Committee has scheduled a hearing on the legislation Tuesday. The proceeding is expected to last all day.

The proposals would cut off Medicaid funds for Planned Parenthood, prohibit abortions based on the fetus’ race, sex or defects and require providers to tell women seeking drug-induced abortions the process can be reversed.

The highest-profile bill would require providers to care for babies born alive as a result of an abortion. It’s unclear if any such births occur in Wisconsin. State health officials don’t track such occurrences.

The bills have little chance of getting past Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ veto pen.