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Wisconsin Senators Baldwin and Johnson disagree on Women's Health Protection Act

Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Screen grab of Facebook Live feed from office of Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) speaks during Monday's Capitol Hill news conference on the Women's Health Protection Act.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., is a co-author of a bill that would guarantee equal access to abortion across the United States, by superseding state restrictions on the procedure.

Baldwin told a Capitol Hill news conference Monday that over the last decade, states have passed more than 500 limits on abortion. So, she said Congress must act to write abortion rights protections into federal law.

"Let me make it clear where I stand. I support taking action today to safeguard against the medically unnecessary bans and restrictions that are being placed on constitutionally protected reproductive health care," she said.

Baldwin also said the stronger language of the federal law is needed as the U.S. Supreme Court considers cases that could greatly limit the 1972 Roe v. Wade decision.

Since the House passed the measure, known as the Women's Health Protection Act, last year, Baldwin said the American people deserve to know where the senators stand on the issue ahead of elections this fall.

"We will have some other opportunities to have a pro-choice majority in this country, elect a pro-choice majority in the House and Senate," she said.

The numbers in Congress aren't there yet.

As expected, the measure failed mostly along party lines on an early procedural ballot in the Senate Monday evening. Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican, voted nay.

Abortion rights groups were quick to attack the GOP lawmaker. NARAL Pro-Choice America said Johnson and other Republicans "doubled-down on their hostility toward reproductive freedom." Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin said Johnson "turned his back on the health and freedoms of Wisconsin women."

Johnson's press office did not respond to WUWM's request for comment.

Reuters reported that the anti-abortion group March for Life calls the Women's Health Protection Act "the most radical abortion bill in U.S. history."

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.
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