Doctors who perform abortions would have to arrange for the burial, cremation or medical donation of the fetal remains under a bill introduced Thursday in the Legislature.

Wisconsin would become the second state after Michigan to adopt such a law, which abortion rights advocates decried as “another attempt to restrict access to abortions.”

The latest in a series of abortion-related bills proposed by Wisconsin legislators was introduced by Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, and Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend. It would require a doctor performing an abortion to “arrange for the final disposition” of the fetal remains.

The bill defines final disposition as “burial, interment, entombment, cremation, incineration or delivery to a medical or dental school anatomy department as an anatomical gift.” The fetus would have to be at least 10 weeks old, or have developed a visibly defined head, torso or limbs.

Bies said he introduced the bill after reading about incidents in other states where fetal remains were disposed of like medical waste.

“To me, the fetus is a human being and needs to be treated with the respect that we would give any human being,” Bies said.

Bies said the bill was not a response to any incident in Wisconsin, but his research included a 2010 report by an anti-abortion group in Michigan that investigated the alleged dumping of medical waste at an abortion clinic. The group said the clinic had disposed of fetuses in a trash container, but subsequent police investigations could not substantiate that claim.

In Wisconsin, there is no specific law regulating how fetal remains must be handled. The Department of Natural Resources classifies human tissue as a type of medical waste that must be incinerated or rendered non-infectious and unrecognizable before being disposed, but it does not specifically address fetal remains.

Stephanie Wilson, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, which operates three of the state’s four abortion clinics, said the organization follows state and federal regulations related to disposal of fetal remains. She did not offer more specifics.

“Abortion is a deeply personal, private and complex decision that women should make in consultation with their doctors, not politicians,” Wilson said.

The bill likely would not apply to medication-induced abortions, which are only done during the first nine weeks of pregnancy, said Elizabeth Nash, a policy expert for the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group that supports abortion rights.

The Legislature recently sent a bill to Gov. Scott Walker that would require women seeking an abortion to have an ultrasound performed. Walker has said he would sign that bill. Spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster said he won’t evaluate the other abortion-related bills until they are approved by the Legislature.

Other bills adopted by the Assembly, but yet to be taken up by the Senate, would ban abortions based on gender selection, prohibit abortion insurance coverage for public employees and exempt religious organizations from having to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and the Republican Senate caucus plan to review the remaining abortion bills before the fall but have not taken a position on them yet, Fitzgerald spokeswoman Alyssa Moyer said. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, is reviewing the fetal remains bill, but no decisions have been made about the fall calendar, his spokeswoman Kit Beyer said.

(11) comments


Wave abortion legislation in one hand to draw attention and with the other hand pay back the corporate Republican sponsors.


Yes, it's the anti-abortion, anti-women legislation du jour from the Republicans. You see, when they can't do anything about the economy they just continually pass this incredibly bad legislation as a diversion. We are now 49th in job creation and only one little step from the wonderful 50th and last place! By the way, when it the next election?

Truth Serum

Just wondering just what (specifically) does your side have to offer? Other than more economic stimulus at the state level? Interesting that the left is now so convinced that supply side economics is now the answer, since it's the only thing that will keep the gov't payroll going.


I wonder if you really know what "supply side economics" is, because your statement is 180 degrees from the facts. Supply side economics came to the forefront in the Reagan Administration and was show to be an utter failure. Cutting taxes to give the wealthy more money didn't produce jobs. The wealthy just kept their stash and in fact it grew immensely. If you would like some references for good books on the subject let me know.

For starters, how about actually working on the economy (and dare I say it DURING THE DAY INSTEAD OF DURING THE NIGHT) instead of focusing on a spate of anti-women laws to promote a religious agenda. Secondly, an election is apparently the only way out of the mess that Wisconsin voters put themselves in. I doubt that the majority doesn't like being 49th in job creation (and heading for 50th). And even Gov. Jan Brewer, that paragon of "conservative values" has signed on to implementing "Obamacare". Here is Wisconsin the focus is on returning to the 19th century

Truth Serum

I couldn't have explained it better myself. Thank you!. Reagan tried borrowing and spending and it didn't work. Now the left is 100% in favor of deficit spending - as long it it's used to support bloated government.


Truth Serum just doesn't get it. By "Supply Side Economics" asserts that if you give tax cuts to the rich (the 'Job Creators', the rich will take their money and create jobs, the their wealth 'trickles down' to the masses. "Supply Side Economics' failed miserably and decisively; the wealthy just pocketed their extra bucks and those jobs for the masses never materialized. Reagan did the initial tax cuts for the wealthy and then when they failed to help the economy, he was forced to increase taxes EVERY YEAR thereafter. Reagan's lowering taxes is what didn't work. And how dare Truth Serum impugn the Republican god, Reagan, anyway! Shame on him!


"Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, and the Republican Senate caucus plan to review the remaining abortion bills before the fall but have not taken a position on them yet..."

Oh boy, a whole collection of anti-women bills on the way. Talk about crazy. When's the next election?


May Truth Serum can explain the spate of anti-women, anti-choice legislation. My feeling is that the legislators need to submit to ultra-sounds to help diagnose their disease.


Pro-choice, pro-life, it doesn't matter. This is a dumb bill and a dumb waste of time. Millions of Americans are suffering and this is what these dopes are wasting their time on! On a different note. This website is one of the slowest, worst performing sites ever.


I think they should also have to post an obituary stating the gender and the means that the CHILD was killed, perhaps it was a sharp instument piercing the spinal cord, or just being sucked out.
Dear Lord have mercy on these people that think abortion is fine.


Don't worry, knight, the "obituary law" is no doubt on the Republican list of anti-women, anti-civl rights Republican legislation in process. And did you know that they've hired someone from Waziristan to advise?

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