By Steve Benen/The Maddow Blog
Every conceivable element of this story is offensive.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law on Friday new abortion restrictions that opponents said could lead to the closing of two of the state's four abortion clinics. [...]The law requires women to undergo an ultrasound before they get an abortion and doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics.
So, in addition to forcing two of the state's four abortion providers to shut down, Walker will now require women undergo a medically unnecessary procedure before exercising their constitutional rights. What if a woman doesn't want the ultrasound? Too bad; her governor is imposing one on her anyway. What if her physician says there's no need for an ultrasound? It doesn't matter; Republican politicians in Wisconsin have decided to put themselves between patients and their doctors.
This, we're told, is the result of sensible policymaking from advocates of limited government.
But the way in which the Wisconsin governor signed this legislation into law adds insult to injury (in this case, almost literally). Scott Walker could have approved the measure in any number of ways, but he chose to do so privately, over the course of a holiday weekend, when the governor apparently thought it'd generate less attention.
There is, in other words, a degree of cowardice here -- if Walker thought he was doing the right thing, signing a measure with broad support into law, he wouldn't have been reduced to hiding.
The new state law takes effect today. Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union have filed suit in federal court. "The purpose and effect of the requirement, which is wholly unnecessary and unreasonable, is to impose a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking abortion prior to viability, in violation of their constitutional right to privacy," lawyers for the groups said in the complaint.