Pro-life Testimony (Update: Committee Approves 9-7!!!)

CLICK HERE or on the photo for the video of the testimony.

UPDATE!!! The day after our testimony, the Health Committee passed the measure by a 9-7 vote, to send the bill to the full House Thursday.

The most vocal abortion proponent on the Health Committee pointed out that of the 52 who submitted testimony Monday, only 5 supported AB 975 (US Senator Ron Johnson, WI Faith & Freedom Coalition President John Pudner, Bill Sponsors Amanda Nedweski and Donna Rozar, and one not yet listed).

However, the point of the bill is to let 5.9 million Wisconsinites, not 52 people with the time to testify in the Capitol, vote on whether they want Wisconsin abortion law to continue to be more liberal than 45 of 47 European Countries (only Iceland and the Netherlands allow abortion later in a pregnancy than Wisconsin’s 20-week law).

The following is a transcript of my testimony, followed by more background on the bill.

Pro-life Testimony

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As you said, my name is John Pudner. I’m from Milwaukee. I want to note I am speaking in favor of AB 975 on behalf of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

The Wisconsin Faith and Freedom Coalition, which I run, is 23 days old, so you may not have heard of us. However, the national group has been around since ’09 and distributed 9.1 million voter education, side-by-sides of candidates last year. Abortion on demand was the top issue listed on most of those (comparisons), letting voters know which candidates supported or were against (abortion on demand). We include footnotes and nice photos. We don’t do hit pieces.

So this is our most pressing issue. It’s not the only issue, with protecting women’s sports (see Rep. Barbara Dittrich’s bill), defending Israel, and human trafficking is also a priority. After a lifetime commitment to the pro-life cause, I would have strongly opposed this bill last year before the court decision (allowing abortion up to 20 weeks). Then it would have RAISED the law from zero to 14 weeks. However, now it would LOWER the law from 20 to 14 weeks which is very incremental, but an improvement.

A former employee of mine, equally committed to the pro-life cause, runs a Georgia group that just led the charge to pass the heartbeat bill that took that state from basically no pro-life law to a heartbeat bill. I’d much rather be supporting that bill, but I’m also a realist. That’s not going to pass this year and we know it. So I do believe this is a positive step.

I would ask all my fellow pro-life groups, with whom I certainly agree completely on the issue, to please just think of this as one step in saving babies. I want to save all babies. I was the oldest of nine children and when Roe came out, my mother took us to hand out literature at abortion clinics. We watched a few women change their minds, and that was another way to save babies.

At Marquette, I was in Marquette Students for Life with Scott Walker, and we along with others built that into the biggest group on campus at the time. It was bigger than the Young Democrats or College Republicans, believe it or not. I had one pregnant high school student who was close enough to confide come and tell me, “The only one of your ‘right-wing views’ I agree with is life,” and had the baby.

So we want to keep working on other ways to save babies. AB 975 is just one of the steps to save babies. And thank you to everyone who talked about the crisis pregnancy centers. My wife was vice president of one. We watched some women (whose only reason for planning an abortion was) feeling they didn’t have a way to get a crib or have baby formula decide to have their baby once those things were provided was another step to save babies.

I ask the whole pro-life movement to consider a step like this at a time when it is the only feasible legislation. I’d like to close by saying that I go to daily mass – I don’t think there is anything wrong with everyone talking about their faith. Today’s reading from Mark 3 was really interesting.

The daily reading read in every Catholic church in the world today states that a house divided will always fall. I would just ask groups to try to unite on the pro-life side. The other side is very united, I don’t hear a single argument today (from groups supporting abortion) that would not argue for abortion up until birth. They’ve been united since Bill Clinton vetoed the bill to stop partial-birth abortion.

There’s 25 percent of Americans who want an absolute law (allowing abortion on demand until birth) and they are together and unified. I would just ask the pro-life movement to consider this, particularly after watching some candidates get attacked by pro-lifers for making exceptions for rape and incest. (All pro-life groups) are trying to move in the same direction, and I ask all the groups to consider that, though I realize those groups are not for this bill today, but I hope they might consider this to be just one step in the overall picture. I see the red sign (the signal that the 3-minute time limit was hit). Thank you.

Background (Text of Actual Testimony below, or CLICK HERE to watch testimony)

In December, a Judge threw out Wisconsin’s pro-life law, leaving in place only language that would prevent abortions once an unborn baby was 20 weeks or older. In response, Assembly Bill 975 was introduced to allow Wisconsin voters to decide if the law should be more pro-life and stop abortion at 14 weeks.

Despite the fact that Gallup polling indicates only 37 percent of Americans support allowing 2nd-trimester abortions, abortion groups came to Monday’s hearing to argue that no laws should exist to stop abortion and support Governor Evers’s immediate threat to veto the bill.

Where we differed with some allies in the pro-life movement is that some testified that they did not want this measure to be considered in case new Supreme Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz decided to overturn the lower court’s decision and reinstate the pro-life law from conception. While the Wisconsin Faith and Freedom Coalition appreciates these groups sticking to their convictions, we do not believe that after spending tens of millions of dollars in her campaign stating she would throw out the pro-life law that there is any chance Protasiewicz would instead leave it in place, but even if she did that decision would not be impacted by this law.

As noted above, the laws in 45 of 47 European Countries are now more pro-life than Wisconsin’s law.

Therefore while the bill is very limited, we believe putting the measure on the ballot would let Wisconsinites take the first step of deciding if they want the state’s law to be more pro-life, by moving the protection up to 14 weeks after conception, or if they want more abortions by instead voting to keep the law at 20 weeks. The Faith and Freedom Coalition supports the legislature allowing a vote on this issue, and in turn, encourages Wisconsinites to vote YES.