- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 22, 2019

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers vetoed Friday a bill requiring medical care for infants born alive after an abortion, becoming the third Democratic governor this year to thwart Republican-sponsored infanticide legislation.

Mr. Evers vetoed the infanticide measure, Assembly Bill 179, as well as three other pro-life bills approved by the Republican-controlled legislature, saying they would “limit access to reproductive healthcare and needlessly interfere with and inject politics into patient-provider relationships.”

He described as “redundant” the infanticide bill, which would have imposed criminal penalties for medical personnel who failed to provide care to newborns surviving abortions. Republican legislators lack the votes to override a veto.

“I am vetoing this bill in its entirety because I object to the political interference between patients and their healthcare providers,” Mr. Evers said in a statement. “Further, this bill is redundant because the protections this bill seeks to provide already exist in state law.”

Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, a Republican, said he was “incredibly saddened, though not surprised” by the veto. Republicans argued that the bill, which passed with no Democratic votes, removed ambiguity from current state law.

“People have come out in droves to support these common sense, life-saving measures,” Mr. Steineke said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Governor Evers has once again made clear that he believes protecting babies in Wisconsin simply isn’t a productive use of his time.”

Democratic Govs. Steve Bullock of Montana and Roy Cooper of North Carolina also vetoed this year infanticide bills, an issue that rose to the forefront after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist, appeared to endorse denying medical attention to newborns surviving abortions.

“The infant would be kept comfortable,” Mr. Northam said in a January interview on WTOP. “The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and mother.”

The Centers for Disease Control found that from 2003-14, at least 143 infants died shortly after being born alive following induced termination, adding that the number could be higher.

Republican legislators held Thursday a symbolic signing ceremony and rally that drew hundreds of supporters, including Melissa Ohden, who testified earlier this month before Congress that she survived a failed saline-infusion abortion at 31 weeks’ gestation in 1977.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin cheered the governor’s veto of the four bills, describing them as a “package of anti-women’s health bills aimed at misinforming the public about abortion care.”

“These bills and their supporters are making claims that are inflammatory, offensive and blatantly false,” tweeted the Planned Parenthood group.



The other three Wisconsin bills would have denied Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood; banned abortions based on race, sex or defects, and required medical personnel to inform patients that results of the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone may be reversed after the first dose.

Wisconsin Right to Life pushed back against the governor’s statement that the bills would interfere with healthcare.

“We agree that Wisconsinites should have access to healthcare. These bills don’t have anything to do with accessibility. Did you read them before using your veto pen?” tweeted the group.

The North Carolina Senate overrode last month Mr. Cooper’s veto of an infanticide bill, but legislators fell short of the three-fifths majority required in the House.

In Congress, House Republicans have filed a discharge petition to force a floor vote on an infanticide bill, collecting so far 201 signatures of the 218 required to override the Democratic leadership.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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