Pro-Life Wisconsin 2013-2014 Legislative Agenda
Protecting preborn children as "persons" in the Wisconsin Constitution
Since Pro-Life Wisconsin (PLW) was founded in 1992, we have steadily worked toward our ambitious goal of total legal protection for every preborn child in our state. Wisconsinites, born and preborn, deserve total and permanent legal protection of their right to life - an inalienable right grounded in natural law. Last session Rep. Andre Jacque introduced the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment, legislation that amends the Wisconsin Constitution to apply personhood rights to preborn children at all stages of development. It simply extends the inalienable right to life already found in the Wisconsin Constitution to all preborn children from the beginning of their lives. An amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution requires passage in two successive legislatures followed by a simple majority vote of the people. The Wisconsin Personhood Amendment seeks to end abortion in Wisconsin, not to regulate or restrict it. It seeks to end all violence toward preborn children in Wisconsin - surgical, chemical, experimental, etc. - at all stages of development. The personhood amendment will be reintroduced by Rep. Jacque in the 2013-2014 legislative session and will be assigned a new bill number. The reintroduction and passage of the Wisconsin Personhood Amendment is Pro-Life Wisconsin's top legislative priority.
Establishing a "Choose Life" Wisconsin license plate
Beginning with Florida, twenty-nine states have established "Choose Life" license plates funding adoption assistance. Pro-Life Wisconsin would like to see Wisconsin be the 30th state to produce and sell a "Choose Life" license plate. To that end, Rep. Andre Jacque will introduce legislation to establish a "Choose Life" Wisconsin specialty license plate. Wisconsin Family Action and Pro-Life Wisconsin have already set up the bylaws of Choose Life Wisconsin, Inc. which will disburse the proceeds from the sale of the plates to crisis pregnancy centers for adoption assistance. In addition to the regular vehicle registration fee, those who purchase the plate are required to pay a $15 fee for issuance or reissuance of the special plates and a $25 annual fee that provides funds to Choose Life Wisconsin. PLW will work to pass legislation to establish a "Choose Life" Wisconsin license plate to facilitate and encourage adoption as a positive choice for women with unplanned pregnancies.
Banning the sale and use of aborted human fetal body parts
Federal law prohibits the interstate trafficking of human fetal body parts. Wisconsin's intrastate commercial activity must have a similar prohibition so that we can guarantee the highest ethical standards of academic research and medical care in our state. There is documented evidence of the UW-Madison conducting research on human fetal brain and pancreatic tissue. These preborn children did not consent to their abortions and certainly did not consent to experimentation. Rep. Andre Jacque will reintroduce legislation prohibiting the sale and use of human fetal body parts. The bill bans persons from knowingly and for valuable consideration acquiring, receiving, or transferring a fetal body part. It also bans persons from knowingly providing, receiving, or using for experimentation a fetal body part. Fetal body part is defined to mean a cell, tissue, organ, or other part of an unborn child who is aborted by an induced abortion. University of Wisconsin officials were quick to attack this legislation last session; publicly stating that it will have a "chilling effect" on the biomedical research UW-Madison is currently conducting using aborted fetal tissue. PLW will work to ban the sale and use of aborted fetal body parts.
Protecting the conscience rights of all health care providers, institutions, and payers
The last four years Wisconsin abortion advocates launched an all out assault on the conscience rights of hospitals, pharmacies, health insurers and individual health care providers. Laws were enacted that 1) force all Wisconsin hospitals to provide the morning-after pill to alleged victims of sexual assault immediately upon their request, 2) force all Wisconsin pharmacies to dispense prescribed contraceptive drugs or devices "without delay," and 3) force Wisconsin private and public health insurers to cover contraceptive drugs and devices. The abortion lobby understands that if they can force medical professionals to violate their consciences regarding contraceptives, they can extend that legal precedent to coerce medical students to participate in abortion training and coerce doctors to provide surgical abortions. These onerous laws violate the federal constitutional guarantee of free exercise of religion and the state constitutional guarantee of liberty of conscience. It is time the Wisconsin Legislature pass comprehensive conscience rights protections for all health care professionals, health care institutions, and health care payers. PLW will work to pass the Health Care Freedom of Conscience Act.
Enacting a state income tax credit for adoption expenses
Pro-Life Wisconsin has long supported a nonrefundable individual state income tax credit for domestic and foreign adoption expenses that piggybacks on the federal adoption tax credit. Currently Wisconsin only has a tax deduction for adoption expenses. Rep. Kathy Bernier will work to include in the state budget bill legislation that creates a nonrefundable individual income tax credit for adoption expenses incurred by an individual who is eligible for, and claims, the federal credit. The credit may be claimed for an amount of qualified adoption expenses, up to $5,000, to the extent that the expenses exceed the amount that the claimant is eligible for, and claims, under the federal credit. When added to the existing federal credit, the legislation could provide prospective adoptive families up to $15,000 for qualified adoption expenses. This could tip the balance in favor of adoption for many couples who are on the financial fence. If this legislation is not added to the state budget bill, Rep. Bernier will introduce it as stand-alone legislation. PLW will work to pass an adoption tax credit.
Ethically investing in Wisconsin's bioscience industry
Last session Rep. Dave Craig and Rep. Andre Jacque offered an amendment to the Next Generation Reserve Fund bill that would have prohibited the disbursement of public funds to Wisconsin bioscience companies that engage in embryo destructive research or human cloning, or that use aborted fetal body parts. When an embryo's inner stem cell mass is extracted to harvest its stem cells, it is killed. "Reproductive cloning," whereby a cloned human embryo is brought to birth, and so-called "research cloning," whereby a cloned human embryo is eviscerated for its stem cells, are both morally repugnant in that the dignity and individuality of the human person is thoroughly disregarded. The use of aborted fetal body parts for medical research also violates the dignity of our preborn brothers and sisters. In none of the research described above has the preborn child, whether at the embryonic or fetal stage of life, given his or her consent. This violence against the voiceless must stop; at the very least we must refrain from publicly funding it. This session Reps. Craig and Jacque will attach the Ethical Investment in Bioscience Amendment to any legislation (including any venture capital bill) that invests public funds in the bioscience industry. As the state of Wisconsin nurtures the ever advancing bioscience industry, it must ensure that the industry adheres to the highest ethical standards. Any bioscience company that conducts research that destroys or degrades innocent human life should be ineligible for public funds. PLW will work to pass the Ethical Investment in Bioscience Amendment.