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Wisconsin

Biased Counseling & Mandatory Delay

A woman may not have an abortion until at least 24 hours after a physician orally, in person, and in an individual setting tells her:  (1) the probable gestational age and anatomical and physiological characteristics of the "unborn child"; (2) the details of the procedure; (3) the medical risks associated with the procedure, including infection, hemorrhage, "psychological trauma," endometritis, perforated uterus, incomplete abortion, failed abortion, danger to subsequent pregnancies, and infertility; (4) the particular medical risks of her pregnancy; (5) that services are available to enable a pregnant woman to view the image or hear the heartbeat of her "unborn child" and how she may obtain these services; and (6) that if the "unborn child" has reached viability, the physician is required to take "all steps necessary" under the law to preserve its life and health.

In addition, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, the woman must receive, orally, in person, and in an individual setting, a state-mandated lecture from a physician, certified social worker, registered nurse, or physician's assistant that includes:  (1) that medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care; (2) that the "father of the unborn child" is liable for child support even if he offered to pay for the abortion; (3) that the woman has a legal right to continue her pregnancy and to keep the child, place the child in foster care, or put the child up for adoption; (4) that the woman has the right to review state-prepared materials that describe the "unborn child" and list agencies that offer alternatives to abortion; (5) if the "unborn child" has been diagnosed with a disability, that the state-prepared materials include information on services and programs for children with disabilities and their families and on adoption of children with special needs; and (6) if the pregnancy is the result of sexual assault or incest, that the state-prepared materials include information on counseling services and legal protections available to the woman if she wishes to terminate the "father's" parental rights or to oppose the establishment of paternity.

At least 24 hours prior to an abortion, the woman must be offered state-prepared materials that must:  (1) describe with photographs, pictures, or drawings the anatomical and physiological characteristics of the "unborn child" at two-week gestational increments for the first 16 weeks and at four-week gestational increments from the 17th week until full term; (2) describe abortion methods and the medical and psychological risks associated with each method, including infection, hemorrhage, "psychological trauma," endometritis, perforated uterus, incomplete abortion, failed abortion, danger to subsequent pregnancies, and infertility; (3) describe the medical risks associated with carrying a pregnancy to term; (4) provide a comprehensive list of: (a) public and private agencies, including adoption agencies, and services available to assist the woman through pregnancy, upon childbirth, and while the child is dependent; (b) services available to provide ultrasound imaging; and (c) services available to assist her if the "unborn child" has been diagnosed with a disability, or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, or, at the option of the department, include a toll-free 24-hour hotline to obtain such a list; (5) list publicly funded programs that serve pregnant women and children; (6) state that a physician who provides abortion services without a woman's "informed" consent is liable to her for damages in a civil action; (7) state that the "father" is liable for child support, even if he offered to pay for an abortion, and that adoptive parents may pay the costs of prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care; (8) include information on legal protections available to a woman whose pregnancy is the result of sexual assault or incest; (9) state that fetal ultrasound imaging and auscultation of fetal heart-tone services are available and describe the services; and (10) include information on services available for survivors of domestic abuse.

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 253.10 (Enacted 1985; Amended 2012).  A court held that this law is constitutional.  Karlin v. Foust, 188 F.3d 446 (7th Cir. 1999).

The state-prepared materials include enlarged color photographs of fetuses.  Div. of Pub. Health, Wis. Dep't of Health & Family Servs., Information about Fetal Development, Childbirth and Abortion (Rev. June 1998).


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