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Wisconsin ultrasound bill now law

| Friday, July 5, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. — Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed a contentious Republican bill on Friday that requires women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound and bans doctors who lack admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from performing procedures.

Opponents contend legislators should not force women to undergo any medical procedure and the bill will force two abortion clinics where providers lack admitting privileges to shut their doors. The law takes effect on Monday.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit within hours of the signing alleging the bill is unconstitutional and asking for a temporary restraining order.

“What the Legislature has done is to set up a system where the ability to provide abortions is contingent on the decision of a private institution, and that's unconstitutional,” said Planned Parenthood's attorney Lester Pines.

A spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice, which defends state laws, said agency attorneys would review the lawsuit and respond in court.

The bill is part of a broad GOP push to dramatically curtail abortions nationally. North Dakota's governor, Republican Jack Dalrymple, signed a law this spring that outlaws abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, making North Dakota the most restrictive state in the nation for abortion. The state's lone abortion clinic has filed a federal lawsuit to block the law.

In Wisconsin, a woman seeking an abortion would be compelled to get an ultrasound in which the technician would have to point out the fetus' visible organs and external features.

Walker, a Republican, sent out a statement early Friday afternoon saying, “This bill improves a woman's ability to make an informed choice that will protect her physical and mental health now and in the future.”

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