Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has indicated that he will sign a 20-week abortion ban that provides an exception only for pregant women who are suffering a “medical emergency” — and even in those cases, the doctor would likely be required to perform a C-section. This exception is even more restrictive than that provided in a similar federal bill that just passed in the U.S. House, which — after months of wrangling — provided a narrow exception for rape survivors.
But the “medical emergency” exception isn’t enough for Wisconsin’s “personhood” group, Pro-Life Wisconsin, which as the Daily Beast points out is asking legislators to withhold support from the bill until its authors remove “an exception for babies whose mother’s lives may be endangered, as if those babies don’t feel pain”:
“Pro-Life Wisconsin supports banning abortion based on the preborn child’s ability to feel pain, but it is utter hypocrisy for proponents of the bill to decry the horror of dismembering a child through a dilation and evacuation abortion and then carve out an exception for babies whose mother’s lives may be endangered, as if those babies somehow don’t feel pain,” said Matt Sande, Pro-Life Wisconsin Legislative Director. “We urge legislators to refrain from co-sponsoring this bill until the medical emergency exception is fully removed.”
The personhood movement’s no-exceptions approach to abortion policy makes it a thorn in the side of the anti-choice movement , but not because the movement’s “mainstream” disagrees with personhood advocates on principle. As the Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser acknowledged recently, exceptions are “political” tools to win support for abortion bans, which she finds “regrettable.” And, in practice, 20-week bans are meant to advance the goals of the “personhood” movement by providing a strategic challenge to the framework of Roe v. Wade.