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Lawmaker revives personhood amendment

MADISON (WRN)   A state lawmaker is renewing a push to grant a “right to life” to unborn fetuses. The proposed constitutional amendment from state Representative Andre Jacque (R-De Pere) would extend personhood to the unborn. The De Pere Republican says the change is meant to protect an existing state ban on abortion, in the event the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision is ever overturned.

Jacque says Democrats have already tried to repeal the currently unenforceable law before, and he fears that it could be open to further legal challenges if federal abortion protections were done away with.

The proposal is raising concerns among pro-choice supporters. State Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) says the personhood distinction could have a much broader impact than just abortion rights, since it would apply to life at any stage of development. She says that it would effectively outlaw most forms of hormonal birth control, while also restricting stem cell research and many fertility treatments.

Jacque introduced a similar proposal last session, but the measure saw little movement. It remains unclear how much support it has in the Capitol this session, although its introduction follows the recent passage of a bill that created new restrictions on abortions and abortion providers.

Since it’s a constitutional amendment, Jacque’s proposal would have to pass two consecutive sessions of the Legislature before going to a statewide vote.