How Anti-Abortion Groups Fund the GOP in Wisconsin

February 8, 2017

Choice Banned

GOP lawmakers are circulating a bill that would prohibit the state from offering insurance coverage to state workers for abortion in most cases. Anti-abortion groups in Wisconsin exercise influence more by outside election spending than by direct contributions to candidates.

In this case, the bill’s four sponsors collectively received about $1,300 in campaign contributions or outside electioneering support from Pro-Life Wisconsin, Wisconsin Right to Life, and Wisconsin Family Action between January 2010 and December 2016. The sponsors are Sen. David Craig, of Vernon, and Reps. Janel Brandtjen, of Menomonee Falls; Andre Jacque, of De Pere; and Ron Tusler, of Harrison.

Outside electioneering activities, like mailings, broadcast ads and robocalls, from anti-abortion organizations totaled about $159,700 between January 2010 and December 2016 – all to support Republicans and oppose Democrats seeking legislative and statewide offices. The top recipient of outside help by anti-abortion groups was Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who received about $23,900 in backing by the groups.

Overall, individual and political action committee contributions from anti-abortion groups totaled $9,450 between January 2010 and December 2016 to legislative and statewide candidates. All of those direct contributions went to Republicans, led by Walker, who received $1,650.

The bill specifically prohibits the state’s Group Insurance Board from offering any health plans to current and retired state workers and local governments that participate in the state insurance plan that pay for abortion services, except in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother’s life.

A similar bill was approved by the Assembly but failed to pass the Senate during the 2013-15 legislative session.

Wisconsin law already prohibits insurance coverage for abortion through Medicaid and state exchanges set up for the federal Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. The federal government and 21 states already restrict abortion coverage in their employee health insurance plans.