By Ruth Conniff on July 06, 2013

By Ruth Conniff

On Friday July 5, while Wisconsinites were distracted by the long holiday weekend, Governor Scott Walker held a private ceremony to sign into law an anti-abortion bill that contains the same highly restrictive, medically unnecessary provisions that provoked a filibuster and made national news in Texas.

Planned Parenthood and the ACLU immediately filed suit, calling the law unconstitutional and asking for a restraining order to block it.

"Wisconsin is right up there with the craziest of the crazies when it comes to restrictive policies. We’re right up there now with Texas and Oklahoma,” state representative Chris Taylor, Democrat of Madison, told The Capital Times.

“I don’t think women can take much more,” Taylor added.

The new law, which takes effect on Monday, could immediately cause the abortion clinics in Appleton and Milwaukee to close, according to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. That's because abortion providers must now have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of their clinics--an arbitrary and onerous requirement opposed by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In Appleton, the local hospital is run by the Catholic Church, and is unlikely to offer staff privileges to the doctor who pays visits to Planned Parenthood to provide abortions on a part-time basis. Nor do the handful of doctors who still provide abortions in Wisconsin write enough hospital referrals to gain admitting privileges in most local hospitals. In part, that's because abortion is medically safe, and rarely results in complications that require hospitalization. Planned Parenthood attorney Lester Pines points out that requiring hospital admitting privileges allows private institutions to decide whether abortion will be available in their local communities. (Half of all Wisconsin hospitals are run by the Catholic Church.) "What the Legislature has done is to set up a system where the ability to provide abortions is contingent on the decision of a private institution and that's unconstitutional," Pines told the AP. Another controversial component of the new law is the mandatory ultrasound for all women seeking abortions. Medical technicians must point out all of fetus's organs, external features, and make patients listen to any discernible heartbeat. Opponents of the Wisconsin law include the Wisconsin Medical Society, the Wisconsin Hospital Association, the Wisconsin Public Health Association, the Wisconsin Academy of Family Physicians, the Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards, and the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health--not to mention a majority of Wisconsin citizens. Only about 36 percent of respondents in Wisconsin favored more restrictions on abortion in a recent Marquette Poll. That number is about the same in national polls. Public opinion is not driving intrusive laws on women's health. The tea party wing of the Republican party, and governors like Scott Walker, who plans to run in the Republican Presidential primary in 20-16, is pushing them. Behind closed doors. While the public is gone fishing.

If you liked this article by Ruth Conniff, the political editor of The Progressive, check out her story "Pro-choice Women Should Take On Republican Govs."

Follow Ruth Conniff @rconniff on Twitter

 

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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