Walker to sign bill requiring ultrasounds
MADISON, Wis. (AP) – Wisconsin Senate Republicans abruptly shut off debate Wednesday before a dramatic vote in which they approved a bill that would require women seeking an abortion to first undergo an ultrasound.
Democrats tried in vain to be recognized to speak as the roll call vote proceeded despite their objections. Republican Senate President Mike Ellis repeatedly banged his gavel so forcefully he broke the base. He shouted at Democrats, saying they were out of order and would not be allowed to speak.
“You’re interrupting a roll call and that will not be tolerated, sit down!” Ellis yelled at Democratic Minority Leader Chris Larson.
“I understand you’re afraid of this debate,” Larson said, his microphone turned off.
The bill passed 17-15 with all Republicans in support and Democrats against. It now heads to the Assembly, which was expected to pass it on Thursday. Gov. Scott Walker said Tuesday he would sign it into law.
Wednesday’s unusual early morning debate in the Senate, which began shortly after 8 a.m., came about after Democrats used a procedural move to block a final vote after hours of debate on Tuesday. Only two senators, one Democrat and one Republican, were able to speak Wednesday before Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald cut off debate after about 30 minutes.
Republican Sen. Mary Lazich gave an impassioned defense of the measure she sponsored, saying it was a small step that would protect women by giving them more information about the decision they have to make.