Wisconsin's Republicans have a new twist on taking away choice that is sure to please the ladyfolk: Allowing the woman's husband, parents or mother and father-in-law to stop a planned abortion.
Under an obscure provision of SB 201, which provides injunctive relief for a "parent or a grandparent," particularly meddling inlaws who got wind of a planned abortion could go to court and get an injunction against the abortion provider, ordering them not to perform the abortion:
(b) Injunctive relief. A court may issue an order enjoining a person from performing an abortion contrary to s. 253.103. If the person violates the terms of the injunction, the court shall adjudge the person in civil contempt of the order and shall impose a civil penalty against the person for contempt in an amount of $10,000 for a first violation, $50,000 for a 2nd violation, and $100,000 for a 3rd and for each subsequent violation and may grant any other relief the court determines is just and proper in the circumstances.
The only catch, supposedly, is that the inlaws must have some sort of evidence that the abortion will be performed "solely on account of the sex of the child." Of course, the bill doesn't give any direction on how to determine when this threshold has been met.
For example, the inlaws could get wind-of a planned abortion at clinic X, go to court claiming that this was a gender abortion based on previous pro-boy or pro-girl statements of the daughter-in-law. This law is so vague, that such a claim by the inlaws could be enough to get an injunction on the abortion.
Even if the meddling mother-in-law doesn't win, simply filing a claim would allow her to open up her daughter-in-law's personal medical records for court inspection, and force the daughter-in-law to answer to a court for her lawful decision to end a pregnancy.
Finally, what every Wisconsin woman wants: Their inlaws making their health decisions for them.
Reached by email, the Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, Jenni Dye, said, "Bills like this one are part of a concerted effort to chip away at abortion access. By opening providers to litigation, this bill seeks to make abortion more costly or, even worse, allow a patient's partner, parents, or partner's parents to sue the abortion provider to prevent a patient from making her own personal medical decision and potentially opening her private medical records to inspection in court proceedings." Dye also added, "If the anti-choice sponsors of this bill were really interested in ending the type of devaluing of one gender over another that underlies sex selective abortion, they would join women in supporting policies that promote equality. Instead, we've seen them do the exact opposite - supporting divisive and discriminatory policies like interfering in women's private medical decisions, repealing equal pay protections, and continuing attacks on women's access to quality affordable reproductive healthcare."
This bill has already passed in the Wisconsin assembly by a 58-39 margin. In the Senate, it has been passed out of committee and bill sponsor Glenn Grothman, is demanding a senate vote in the coming weeks.