The debate over a bill requiring women to undergo an ultrasound procedure before being permitted to have an abortion resulted in an explosive shouting match on the floor of the Wisconsin Senate Wednesday.
State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D) began by reading various letters from her constituents complaining about the adverse affects the proposed legislation may have on women and victims of rape.
Vinehout’s argument was rebutted by her Republican colleague state Sen. Mary Lazich, who pointed out that victims of rape and incest are exempted in the anti-abortion legislation. She dismissed Vinehout’s argument as “theatrics.”
Lazich went on to argue that families are entitled to “full information” about their decisions before deciding to abort a baby.
“They make that decision, it’s over! It’s over in a few minutes,” she said. “And then later on they can live with the fact that they terminated their pregnancy and it was the best thing for them or they killed their child and they made a horrific decision and they regret it and they wish they never would have done it.”
Following Lazich’s comments, Senate President Mike Ellis ( R) called for a vote on the bill despite efforts by Senate Democrats to extend the debate. The move resulted in chaos on the Senate floor.
“It’s non-debatable! Call the roll!” Ellis shouted over lawmakers while pounding his gavel. “You’re out of order!”
“You’re out of order!” another Wisconsin senator shot back.
“You’re interrupting a roll call! Sit down right now!” a visibly furious Ellis hollered.
“I understand you’re afraid of this debate,” Larson said, his microphone turned off.
Watch the video via Mediaite:
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 Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, cut off debate after about 30 minutes.