News & Politics

Wisconsin Bill Gives Relatives Ability to Stop Women From Obtaining Abortions

The Wisconsin bill would also prohibit abortions solely on the basis of the sex of the child, even though sex-based abortions are rare.

Abortion rights protesters in Minnesota.
Photo Credit: Fibonacci Blue/Flickr

One of the anti-abortion bills being debated in Wisconsin has a provision that could give the relatives — even in-laws — of a woman the power to stop an abortion.  Daily Kos’ Jud Lounsbury points outthat the provision is part of a law that prohibits abortions solely on the basis of the sex of the child, though those are quite rare.

Under the law, the mother, father, or grandparent of a fetus that is aborted because of its sex could seek injunctive relief.  A court would be able to enjoin the woman who performed the abortion from performing another sex-selective abortion.  In other words, if a relative of a woman proves that an abortion was carried out on the basis of sex, the relative could petition a court to enjoin the woman from getting another abortion.

Lounsbury writes that the only catch is that “the mother-in-law must have some sort of evidence that the abortion will be performed ‘solely on account of the sex of the child,’” though its unclear how the evidence threshold could be met.

The bill passed the Wisconsin Assembly in June. In the State Senate, it has been passed out of committee and bill sponsor Sen. Glenn Grothman is demanding a vote before the legislative session comes to an end in three months. 

Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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