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WASHINGTON, DC — The Wisconsin state legislature has announced their intent to introduce an unconstitutional bill supported by Governor Scott Walker to ban abortion at 20 weeks, as part of a broader agenda to restrict abortion access. The bill is the latest in a string of signals that Walker and other Republican contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination are increasingly focused on restricting abortion access, birth control coverage, and access to Planned Parenthood’s preventive services.  

Walker has repeatedly said he wants to ban abortion, and he has signed into law four bills that restrict women’s access to safe and legal abortion. He has also blocked Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds to provide lifesaving cancer screenings and other health care to low-income women in Wisconsin, and would be in the position to do the same nationwide if he has the chance. As results of Walker’s policies, many women in Wisconsin are unable to get high-quality, affordable health care in their local communities.

The 20-week abortion ban Walker supports in Wisconsin would prevent doctors from providing the best medical care in highly unique situations. When Americans understand the real-world impact of 20-week bans, a solid 60 percent of voters oppose them. A strong majority of voters — Republicans (62 percent), Democrats (78 percent), and Independents (71 percent) — say this is the wrong issue for Congress and their state legislators to be spending time on.

Statement from Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“Governor Scott Walker and the rest of the GOP likely contenders should be focused on moving our country forward, rather than attacking women’s access to health care. Unfortunately, this represents the same race to the bottom on women’s health that we saw in the 2008 and 2012 primaries — with candidates trying to prove who can be the worst on women’s health, in order to attract support from the extreme right wing of the Republican Party, which doesn’t represent most Republicans or most voters.

“While women should not have to justify their personal medical decisions, the reality is that abortion later in pregnancy is very rare and often happens under complex circumstances — the kind of situations where a woman and her doctor need every medical option available. The real agenda is abundantly clear: ban abortion completely, which is deeply unpopular with the majority of Americans.”

Broader Agenda: What’s happened in Wisconsin could happen in all 50 states if Scott Walker is elected president.  Scott Walker has said he wants to ban abortion and has already passed four laws that threaten a woman’s ability to make her own health care decisions about her pregnancy, including laws that threaten doctors with felony charges for providing abortion, require physicians to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and block women from getting private insurance coverage for abortion. Not only has Scott Walker made Wisconsin one of the most difficult states to access safe and legal abortion, he also ended Planned Parenthood’s 16-year contract with the state to provide breast and cervical cancer screenings under the state’s well-woman program and forced the closure of five rural Planned Parenthood health centers, resulting in the disruption and loss of over 18,800 health care services for approximately 3,100 patients including lifesaving cancer screenings, breast exams, birth control, annual exams, pregnancy tests, STD testing and treatment, HIV screening, and referrals to a network of community resources.