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Bill interfering with the patient-physician relationship advances

The Wisconsin State Senate approved a bill earlier this week which, if enacted, would establish new and unsafe requirements in the physician-patient relationship for specific medical encounters. The 20-week abortion ban bill (SB179), which was passed by the State Senate along party lines, would prohibit the performance of an abortion—except in a medical emergency—after 20 weeks.

The Wisconsin Medical Society in its written comments and testimony before the Assembly and Senate Joint Health Committee voiced its concern about the bill’s (SB179/AB237) interference with the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship, its criminalization of physicians who perform medically necessary procedures, and the provisions of the bill that would mandate in state statute specific medical standards of care that are unsafe for the health of pregnant mothers. Under the bill, physicians who perform an abortion after 20 weeks in a non-medical emergency situation could be charged with a felony and subject to $10,000 in fines and/or 3 ½ years in prison.

The Society opposes laws or regulations that interfere with the patient-physician relationship—the foundation of all medical care—as SB179/AB237 would do by mandating specific requirements in a patient-physician encounter.

The Society stated in its testimony that physicians should be deciding with their patients what procedures are needed and what will be performed based on the best available medical evidence, guidelines of care, and shared decision making between the patient and physician.

The bill now awaits action in the Assembly, though it is unclear when the Assembly will take this bill up. The bill faces an unknown future in the courts, even if it is passed.

To follow this bill and all other legislation of concern to the membership, visit the Lobbying Tracker in the Advocacy section of the Society’s website.

Contact Chris Rasch in the Society’s Government and Legal Affairs Department with any questions.

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