“Mad as Hell:” Wisconsin Women Rally Tomorrow Against Last-Minute Rush to Pass Anti-Choice Bills

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“Mad as Hell:” Wisconsin Women Rally Tomorrow Against Last-Minute Rush to Pass Anti-Choice Bills

Andy Kopsa

Planned Parenthood has organized a rally at the Wisconsin state capitol tomorrow, the last day of the legislative session when all bills will be voted on.

Today Wisconsin Planned Parenthood Executive Director  Tanya Atkinson hand-delivered a letter to Assembly Chairs in Madison encouraging them to not vote on a group of anti-women bills before them.

Planned Parenthood has organized a rally at the Wisconsin state-capitol tomorrow aptly called the “Mad As Hell” rally.  Tomorrow is the last day of the legislative session and all bills will be brought up and voted on.

According to the press release from Planned Parenthood the rally (full name “Women Watch, Women Rally, Women Vote: Mad as Hell”) will take place at the statehouse from 12pm – 1pm (CT) to “say no to taking away access to birth control, no to denying access to lifesaving cancer screenings, no to taking away comprehensive sex education from Wisconsin youth, nto restricting access to abortion


Confirmed speakers are Tanya Atkinson, Teri Huyck, CEO of Planned Parenthood Wisconsin, Sara Finger of the Alliance for Women’s Health and Lisa Subeck from NARAL. There are two more speakers that have yet to be confirmed.  

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Following below is an explanation by Planned Parenthood of each of the bills concerning abortion and women’s health; a bill ending evidence-based sexual education in the state allowing for abstinence only programming; an “anti-coercion” bill that really just seeks to kill future attempts to provide telemed abortion services in Wisconsin and a ban on private insurance coverage of abortion:

AB 337/SB 237: 

Repeals the Healthy Youth Act that was enacted to provide our youth with medically accurate information about how to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy. Wisconsin teens are engaging in risky sexual behavior, which is jeopardizing their health, lives and futures. In Wisconsin, the overall teen birth rate has been declining. In 2006 and 2007, we saw a slight increase and then drop in 2009 & 2010. The 2010 WI teen birth rate (26.2 / 1000) was lower than the 2009 national rate (39.1); however many Wisconsin counties have teen birth rates higher than the Wisconsin or national average.  

Research is clear that tackling teen pregnancy requires a multi-layered approach, including comprehensive, age appropriate, medically accurate sex education. Wisconsin’s current law regarding sex education standards assures that our students receive an abstinence-centered education that includes medically accurate information about contraception to prevent pregnancy and the spread of disease. The bill you have scheduled reverses this standard and brings Wisconsin back to the days of ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage programming. Teenage childbearing and STD’s cost Wisconsin millions each year. In addition, teenage parenthood is the leading cause of school drop out among girls and children of teens do not perform as well in measures of school readiness and child development. 

AB 154/SB 92:

Bans private insurance coverage of abortion services. This legislation is not supported by the insurance industry and is opposed by the medical community and the women it serves. The only organizations who are supporting this bill are those who exist only to end access to safe and legal abortion services in Wisconsin. Interestingly enough, these same groups also want to end access to birth control services. These organizations are pushing an agenda today that will prevent private citizens in Wisconsin from purchasing private insurance coverage on the private market. 

Assembly Bill 154 will eliminate insurance coverage for abortion services in Wisconsin—even when individual citizens are using their own dollars to purchase private insurance. This is the state legislature telling private insurance what they can and cannot cover. About 80% of all health insurance plans cover abortion services and this bill will be taking away a private benefit that tens of thousands of women currently have. 

AB 371/SB 306:

This legislation reiterates policies that are already law and adds additional barriers to women who seek abortion and criminalizes doctors who would follow the best medical practice in regards to abortion care.  

This bill is an extremely troubling overreach of legislative authority into the practice of medicine. Under proposed provisions within AB 371, the Wisconsin Legislature go so far as to prescribing the medical procedures that doctors and their patients must follow with abortion care, including the health care facilities women must patronize for follow up abortion care. 

Stephanie Wilson, Media Manager for PPhood Wisconsin said the event’s Facebook page already has close to 500 people committed to attending tomorrow, though the exact number remains to be seen tomorrow.  For a rally on a Tuesday at noon, Wilson said, even half of that number would be a huge win.  

Earlier coverage on these bills in Wisconsin by Rewire indicated passage of these bills inevitable and a signature by Governor Scott Walker assured.