AP NEWS

We shouldn’t discriminate before birth

May 16, 2019

Editor, Daily Times:

I can recall the first time I heard the repugnant rhetoric of Peter Singer, professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, over a decade ago. At that time, it seemed surreal and shocking that an educator in a position of authority would be making the case that individuals with the same diagnosis as my son should not only be aborted but should also be euthanized after birth.

Yet, with increasing frequency over my years of serving the disability, chronic illness and special needs communities, I witness firsthand these sorts of acts be pushed upon vulnerable parents who were trying to adjust to a new life with their precious child. There wasn’t just the public pressure from individuals who felt that abortion was the only logical action. It was also the immense pressure from the medical community, insisting that parents either abort or refrain from life-saving treatment for a child whose life doctors felt was futile.

Witnessing this misguided treatment of families angered and motivated me. Watching our culture suddenly race toward infanticide with shocking legislation in Virginia and New York made me realize that I could not sit idle in my role as a new legislator. That is why I was greatly honored to accept Sen. Patrick Testin’s, R-Stevens Point, invitation to join him as author of the Shield the Vulnerable Act as well as accept Sen. Duey Stroebel’s, R-Saukville, invitation to join him as author of Assembly Bill 183/Senate Bill 187 which would remove Medicaid support from abortion providers.

While abortion is still legal and available in America (but not rare, as originally promised), taxpayers increasingly express their desire to neither publicly fund it nor allow it to go past 20 weeks of gestation. The macabre practice of late-term abortion is even opposed by the vast majority of those who are pro-choice. The prevalence of routine and 3D ultrasound has also served to change public opinion. If we wouldn’t discriminate after birth, we surely shouldn’t before birth.

Aside from these discriminatory practices, the public simply does not want its public health dollars going toward funding abortion. And rightly so! There are seven federally funded health clinics for every one Planned Parenthood in our state, covering a broader geographic area and funding the mammograms and prenatal care for women that Planned Parenthood does not. AB 183 does not shrink the total amount of funds available for women’s health but redirects those monies to the 162 federally qualified health clinics and rural health clinics that need additional funding.

In an era where the unthinkable becomes reality, now is the time for the Wisconsin Legislature to be proactive. While our current governor may equate abortion with a tonsillectomy and says these bills are “not a productive use of time,” the public knows better. If we truly want healthy women and babies in this state, we must start with letting them have a safe, dignified arrival in the first place.

Rep. Barbara Dittrich

R-Oconomowoc