Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker quietly signed a set of over 50 bills last Thursday, many of which will have a direct impact on women’s health in the state. The bills include requiring teachers to stress abstinence-only sex education, barring abortion coverage through health insurance exchanges, and requiring doctors to consult privately with patients about abortion without friends or family of the patient.
He also repealed the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which had allowed victims of discrimination in the workplace to seek damages in state courts. Michelle Goldberg of The Daily Beast writes that in repealing pay equity alongside sexual and reproductive health measures, Walker “demonstrated that our political battles over women’s rights aren’t just sex and reproduction – they extend to every aspect of women’s lives.”
Walker did not announce the bills until midday Friday. Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, D-Madison, said in a statement, “Perhaps he thought that in doing this behind closed doors, with no public notice, before a holiday weekend for many families, his actions would go unnoticed. He was wrong. We will not be silent – these issues are too important to ignore.”