Not Just Labor Rights; Scott Walker Is Also Dismantling Women's Rights

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has attacked the rights of working people to organize unions and to speak up in their workplaces and the political life of their communities, their state and their nation.

He has attacked the right of citizens to dissent and to have a voice in the legislative process.

He has even attacked voting rights, with a draconian Voter ID bill that is seen as the most restrictive in the United States.

The list of assaults on basic rights is so long that it is not surprising that close to 1 million Wisconsinites have petitioned for the recall and removal of Walker in a June 5 election.

The list of reasons for voting Walker out of office is so long that it is hard to imagine what more could be added to it.

But there is the matter of what the governor's critics refer to as "Scott Walker's War on Women."

Because Walker signed anti-choice laws enacted by legislative Republicans who do not believe women can or should make decisions regarding their own bodies, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has decided to suspend providing certain basic health services to women. Among other things, Planned Parenthood will stop providing drugs to women for abortions in the first nine weeks of pregnancy--a method the provider says are used in about a quarter of the abortions it provides in Wisconsin.

Why? The law signed by Walker criminalizes a physician's failure to follow specific protocols laid out by the the anti-choice legislators--and interest groups--that drafted the legislation.

"In just one year, we have seen how women can lose ground in their health care options as a result of who holds power," explains NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin executive director Lisa Subeck.

Specifically, Subeck is referring to Act 217--a law that, she correctly notes, adds unnecessary and intrusive restrictions for abortion providers and subjects physicians to felony criminal penalties.

"It is unacceptable that women in Wisconsin are losing health care options because Governor Walker has enacted a law that is hostile to abortion providers, and that means women in Wisconsin will suffer," says Subeck. "This is what happens when out of control politicians like Scott Walker practice medicine without a license and interfere in the relationship between doctors and their patients. In the end, it is women who lose out."

She's right.

So, too, is state Representative Chris Taylor, when she argues that "this is indicative of what is to come from Scott Walker and legislative Republicans. They will stop at nothing to make abortion and birth control illegal in every circumstance."

If Walker remains in office, women will lose more services, more basic protections and more rights.

That's movement in the wrong direction for women, and for Wisconsin. And it has to stop.

But it won't stop for so long as Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch remain in office.

That's why leading advocates for women, including former Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, state Senator Lena Taylor and state Representative Terese Berceau, are actively campaigning to recall Walker--along with former Brown County Executive Nancy Nusbaum, who used to be a Republican. That's why former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, a gubernatorial candidate, and three other women are running as Democratic challengers to anti-choice Republcans in the recall elections.

They recognize that this is a moment when Wisconsin will decide whether it is on the right side of progress--for women and for families.

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