What is Sen. Vinehout’s position on abortion, contraception and other women’s health issues?
(updated to include 2011-2012 legislative session)
The decision is one for the individual woman to make. In the words of Bill Clinton, abortion should be “legal, safe and rare.”
Abortion must also be accessible. Changes by Republican lawmakers made it harder and harder for women to find services that are safe and legal. Wisconsin is now on a dangerous path to dramatically limit women’s access to abortion.
To make abortion rare, I support policies that result in increased use of contraceptives. I support a more factual knowledge of sexuality. This will lower the number of abortions. As Senator, I voted to protect the state’s family planning system, the Family Planning Waiver, funding for Planned Parenthood, and testing and treatment for breast and cervical cancer.
I voted against cuts to funding Planned Parenthood clinic and against cutting Planned Parenthood services for men.
I voted for the Healthy Youth Act that requires sex education taught in Wisconsin to be medically-accurate, age-appropriate, and comprehensive. I intensely fought the 2011 repeal of this Act in the Senate Education Committee.
I voted for the Expedited Partner Therapy Act intended to reduce the rate of STDs by allowing a provider to dispense a second round of antibiotics for the partner of a patient being treated.
I voted for the Compassionate Care for Rape Victims Act that requires hospitals to provide rape victims with information on and access to emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy after an assault.
I voted for the Pay Equity Act to pay women the same as men. I voted against the repeal of this act in 2011.
I voted to require insurance plans that cover prescriptions to also cover prescription contraceptives and to require pharmacies to dispense prescription birth control.
I voted to fund life-saving diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer for low-income women, and to expand the Family Planning Waiver that provides family planning and preventative health care for low income women and men.
I voted against a 2011 bill to stop the (non-existent) state health marketplace from offering plans that cover abortion even when the woman pays for the coverage out of her pocket.
I voted against criminalizing physicians who give “Plan B” – emergency contraception.
I voted against the mandatory ultrasound bill and was the only Senate Democrat allowed to speak against its passage. In my speech I told stories of women who strongly opposed the bill. I shared my own story of being sexually assaulted and encouraged women in the Assembly to do the same.
I voted against the 2012 abortion restrictions bill that adds unnecessary barriers to women seeking abortion care.
I support women’s health including contraception.
I also support the Wisconsin Constitution that includes a clause to protect citizens’ individual conscience. In finding the correct language to protect individual conscience and make sure pharmacies immediately dispensed contraception I voted to change the language in a bill Planned Parenthood and NARAL supported at the end of the Legislative Session in 2008. I voted with Planned Parenthood and NARAL in 2009 to resolve this issue at the beginning of the 2009 Session.
Pharmacies as a business are now required to immediately dispense a woman’s contraceptive medication even when the pharmacist as an individual has concerns about the medication.