Are Wisconsin GOP leaders chickening out on pro-life laws too?

pro life capitol wisconsin

Pro-life advocates at Wisconsin capitol.

Sadly, we’re not done talking about fair-weather pro-lifers in the Republican Party just yet. Wisconsin Family Action warns that GOP leadership in the state Senate postponed votes on two pro-life bills that were scheduled to be decided on Tuesday, November 12:

  • Assembly Bill 216 will protect Wisconsin taxpayers from having to pay for the abortions of state employees and will protect many religious institutions from being forced to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs.
  • Assembly Bill 217 will prohibit the shameful practice of performing abortions based on the sex of the child. […]

The Senate will not be back on the floor until January 2014 and the session will be over shortly after that.
Both of these bills have already been approved by the State Assembly.  All that is needed is for the State Senate to approve them so they can go to Governor Walker for his signature.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald claims the bills remain a priority; they just need a bit more tweaking in committee:

“We have to have them in the right form. I don’t know that we’re there for Tuesday.”

However, his spokesman Dan Romportl gives a far less reassuring explanation:

“We’d like to end on a noncontroversial note.”

That report also quotes pro-life Gov. Scott Walker, who wouldn’t commit to signing them, as even more dismissive:

“To me, it’s not on my radar if it’s not about jobs, balancing the budget or lowering taxes.”

This comes as pro-abortion forces in the Dairy State mount their usual hysteria, such as Democrat state Senator Jon Erpenbach threatening “all out hell” if the bills are introduced in the Senate.

C’mon, you may be thinking, this is Team Walker we’re talking about, the governor who made history by confronting untouchable left-wing special interests head-on. Surely he and his party aren’t about to let the threat of a temper tantrum keep them from doing the right thing?

Well, you’d think so from how many national pundits gush over the likely 2016 presidential candidate, but the truth is that since his tussle with the government employee unions, Walker has been far less keen on controversy. Back in January, he declared:

“We’re not going to do things that are going to bring 80,000 or 100,000 people into the Capitol. It’s just not going to happen again.” […]

Walker now says building certainty and avoiding divisiveness is such a priority that he will push GOP lawmakers not to bring up certain bills important to conservatives, including some he may support, such as those to end same-day voter registration, restrict immigration, implement so-called “right-to-work,” and overhaul the state Government Accountability Board.

It’s always disheartening to see leaders on our side put politics ahead of principle, but the most maddening thing is that most of the time, the political calculations behind such capitulations aren’t even correct—a 55% majority of Wisconsinites think abortion should be outright illegal in most cases, so of course they’d be receptive to far more modest restrictions.

If you really believe it’s monstrous to force other Americans to fund abortion, or to violently target unborn girls specifically because they are girls, then shouldn’t you have confidence that the case will resonate with people if you simply make it to them?

If Senate leaders really do bring the measures back up in January, great. But the political climate won’t be fundamentally different. They hysterics will be just as hysterical. You can’t just indefinitely postpone conflicts about basic principle. Sooner or later, you’ll have to either confront resistance or run away. And the decision you make will determine whether it was ever a sincere principle, or empty words all along.

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