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Republicans attempt to change WI constitution to add “personhood” amendment

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Some Republican lawmakers are attempting to change Wisconsin's constitution to make it easier to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

The Assembly Health Committee considered a resolution called the “personhood amendment” which would establish someone as a “person” and any stage during pregnancy from a fertilized egg to an unborn fetus.

Supporters said the goal is to make sure abortion is illegal is the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

"We want a true definition of human life… we believe a proper definition of personhood should be in place if Wisconsin is freed from the effects of Roe,” said Matt Sande with Pro-Life Wisconsin.

These types of constitutional amendments have to pass two consecutive sessions, then it would need approval from voters through a referendum.

Opponents fear this proposal would outlaw all abortions including forms of birth control.

“There are really serious consequences and it's not just about banning abortion this is also banning certain forms of birth control and in vitro fertilization and chemotherapy," said Sara Finger, Founder & Executive Director Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health

Senator André Jacque (R-DePere) argued Finger's claim saying the proposal was to give lawmakers the power to decide what would and wouldn’t be illegal.

This is not the first attempt by Sen. Jacque to change the definition of a fetus. In 2011, a similar measure was introduced but was not approved by the legislature two sessions in a row.

The amendment faces an uphill battle as two of the state's largest anti-abortion groups are at odds over the proposal. An attorney who does work for Wisconsin’s Right to Life testified to lawmakers the idea is “too risky.”

In order to pass this session it would have to be taken up by the state Assembly next week before it plans to adjourn Thursday.

Emilee Fannon

Capital Bureau Chief

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