County Board to Congress: Protect Reproductive Rights
March 10, 2014
County Board Chair John Hendrick, 608.446.4842
The Dane County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution urging the State to repeal all laws restricting abortion and urging the United States Congress to pass and the President to sign the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013, introduced by Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin and sponsored by Representative Mark Pocan.
The Women’s Health Protection Act would prevent states from enacting so-called “Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers” (TRAP) laws, which don’t prohibit abortion directly but which do place restrictions on clinics that provide abortions, such as requiring doctors to obtain hospital admitting privileges or perform medically unnecessary ultrasounds.
“It’s been amazing to me how many constituents and really personal friends who have opened up with their stories related to this,” said Supervisor Leland Pan, a lead sponsor on the resolution. “Given how stigmatized (abortion) is, it’s important for these folks to know they have an ally in government who will stand up for their rights.”
Supervisor Jenni Dye said it’s important for the Dane County Board to speak out, even if the County doesn’t directly set reproductive health policy. “We represent these women, and we represent their families and their partners. It is our responsibility to stand up for those we represent,” she said.
“It’s not a shame. It shouldn’t be a secret. Every woman should have access to health care,” said County Board Vice Chair Carousel Bayrd.
“Each woman is the expert of her own life, and she deserves the dignity of making complex medical decisions in consultation with her doctor,” said Elle Finken, a MD and MPH candidate at the University of Wisconsin and the president of UW’s chapter of Medical Students for Choice. “Restrictive abortion regulation puts us, as providers, in a position to have to choose between following policy, and providing optimal care. My future patients deserve access to comprehensive reproductive health care grounded in evidence-based medicine, not politics.”
In a statement, Center for Reproductive Rights president and CEO Nancy Northup praised the measure. “In recent years, Wisconsin women have been under siege from politicians who seek to interfere in women’s personal, private decisions and cut off their access to safe, legal, high quality reproductive health care,” Northup said. “Today’s resolution lets the federal government know that Wisconsinites are standing up for their rights and fighting back against these attacks on women’s health, safety, and dignity. The Women’s Health Protection Act would put a stop to restrictions on essential reproductive health care advanced by politicians who feign concern for women’s health while passing laws devastating to their ability to get the health care they need from the medical professionals they trust. We call on elected officials all across the country to follow the lead of the Dane County Supervisors and support women’s rights, health, and well-being by urging Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act.”
The resolution passed by voice vote with Supervisors Tim Kiefer and Dennis O’Loughlin abstaining.
In other business, Supervisor Dianne Hesselbein introduced a resolution that would name a parcel of Property in the Upper Sugar River Watershed the Falk-Wells Area after former County Executive Kathleen Falk and her chief of staff, Topf Wells.
“Some people in this body may not have voted for Kathleen Falk, but I don’t think anyone can say she didn’t do a lot for the environment,” Hesselbein said. The resolution will go to committee for consideration at a later date.
The County Board also unanimously passed a resolution honoring the Edgewood High School Boys Swim and Dive team for its Division 2 state championship.
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