Bill would publicize which facility performed each abortion

By: - March 4, 2021 2:19 pm
Wisconsin State Capitol

Wisconsin State Capitol

A bill was introduced Thursday by anti-abortion legislators that would create additional information that needs to be reported to the state Department of Health Services for every abortion, as well as making public the facility where the abortion was performed. 

Under current law the identity of the patient, doctor and facility is kept confidential.

Sen. Andre Jacque
Sen. Andre Jacque

The bill authored by Sen. Andre Jacque (R-DePere)  and Rep. Chuck Wichgers (R-Muskego) would require the clinic or facility performing the abortion to report the sex of the fetus if it can “be determined by visual inspection,” as well as document any fetal anomaly present. The Legislative Reference Bureau analysis states that DHS would then have to incorporate information on any fetal anomalies into its birth defect registry.

Rep. Chuck Wichgers
Rep. Chuck Wichgers

The legislators’ memo seeking cosponsors for their bill states, “Please join us in highlighting the humanity of the unborn.”

Under current law, DHS is required to collect the reported information in a manner that ensures anonymity of the patient who obtained the abortion, the health care provider who performed the abortion, and the facility in which the abortion was performed,” states the Legislative Reference Bureau’s description of the bill. “The bill eliminates the anonymity for the facility in which the abortion was performed while retaining anonymity for the patient and the individual health care provider. The bill requires reporting summaries of the information by hospital, clinic, or other facility that reports performing an induced abortion.”

Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) says that once-again Republicans are singling out abortion and treating it differently than other medical procedures. “This is another attempt by the anti-choice movement to garner information. These are people who block access to clinics and stop people from entering, and sometimes these people shoot doctors.” It’s a ‘red-flag’ according to Subeck, who cannot imagine any other reason this information would need to be collected or made public except to expose women and medical providers to “further harassment.”

The memo on the bill from Jacque and Wichgers states they want to know if “gender selection abortions” and “insight into the extent that children are aborted for a medical condition beyond their control.”

The memo further states the authors’ desire to have records — in their words — “properly reflecting that these are little girls and boys that are taken from our midst.”

Under current law, data that must be reported after an abortion is: 

  • the state, and county if Wisconsin, of residence
  • certain demographic information
  • the month and year in which the abortion was performed
  • the number of weeks since the patient’s last menstrual period
  • whether the abortion was chemically or surgically induced or surgically induced following a failed chemical abortion
  • any resulting complications
  • certain information for abortions of an unborn fetus capable of experiencing pain


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Melanie Conklin
Melanie Conklin

Melanie Conklin was the Wisconsin Examiner's founding Deputy Editor, serving from its launch July 1, 2019, until Feb. 1, 2022. She is proud to be a native of the state of Wisconsin, which gave humankind the typewriter, progressivism and deep-fried cheese curds. Her several decades in journalism include political beats and columns at Isthmus newspaper, the Wisconsin State Journal and other publications. When not an ink-stained wretch, she served time inside state, local and federal government in communications before returning to journalism at the Examiner. It’s what she’s loved ever since getting her master’s degree in journalism from the UW-Madison. Her family includes one husband, two kids, four dogs and five (or more) chinchillas.