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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Berceau vows to push for repeal of abortion statute

This is not good.

If Pro-Life Advocates Don't Speak Up Now, More Unborn Children Will Be Killed In Wisconsin....

Come January, state Rep. Terese Berceau, D-Madison, will be in the majority party for the first time in her long tenure in the Assembly. And she plans to waste no time in reintroducing a bill to repeal a state law criminalizing abortion that dates to the 19th century.

"That is one of the top things on my list," says Berceau, who decided against running for a leadership post in her chamber so she could concentrate on policy initiatives.

But even though Democrats now control both houses of the Legislature and the governor's office, Berceau still isn't sure she has the votes for passage, since some members of her own caucus oppose abortion rights.

"I do have some Democratic colleagues I have to deal with," she says. Assembly Democrats, in general, will likely be more bipartisan than the Republicans were when they ruled the roost, Berceau says. But, she adds, the new majority party will not entertain proposals from such "extreme" groups as Wisconsin Right to Life and Pro-Life Wisconsin, who, for example, recently pushed a bill purportedly aimed at preventing doctors from killing a baby who is born alive.

"That was egregious and misleading," Berceau says. "We're not going to give them the opportunities to be heard when they come up with such egregious anti-women's health bills," she adds. "They're just not going to be heard."

Sue Armacost, legislative director for Wisconsin Right to Life, says she's not surprised to hear of Berceau's plans to repeal the abortion statute: "That would be a shock if they didn't try that again."

Armacost acknowledges that "things are going to be more difficult" for her group given the election. Her colleague, Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, expressed similar sentiments in a mournful e-mail sent to supporters two days after the election.

"America elected as president the most pro-abortion individual in the United States imaginable," Lyons said. "Our state Legislature was up for grabs and we are now hanging on by a thread."


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