Senate passes ultrasound bill after impassioned debate was cut off
MADISON - Republicans abruptly shut off debate before a dramatic vote approving a bill that requires women seeking an abortion first have an ultrasound performed.
The bill passed Wednesday as Democratic senators tried in vain to be recognized to speak. Republican Senate President Mike Ellis repeatedly banged his gavel and yelled that they were out of order.
AP Writer Scott Bauer tweeted these reports about the proceedings:
Republican Senate President Mike Ellis banged on his gavel so hard to shut down Democrats trying to speak, he broke the base— Scott Bauer (@sbauerAP) June 12, 2013
GOP Senate President Mike Ellis to Democrat Chris Larson: "You're interrupting a roll call and that will not be tolerated, sit down!"— Scott Bauer (@sbauerAP) June 12, 2013
Correction: Sen. Jauch said Sen. Mike Ellis, not Sen. Fitzgerald, needed to seek psychological help— Scott Bauer (@sbauerAP) June 12, 2013
The bill passed 17-15 with all Republicans in support and Democrats against.
Only two senators were able to speak Wednesday before Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald cut off debate after about 30 minutes.
Democratic Sen. Kathleen Vinehout says the bill's intent is to close down clinics that provide abortions in Wisconsin.
Bill sponsor Republican Sen. Mary Lazich gave an impassioned defense of the measure, saying it was a small step that would protect women.
The law says in its text, as proposed by the State Senate, "No person may require the pregnant woman to view the ultrasound images or visualize any fetal heartbeat."