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Wisconsin Assembly set to clear pharmacist-prescribed birth control

The Wisconsin Assembly on Wednesday is expected to pass a Republican-authored, bipartisan bill opposed by anti-abortion groups that would allow pharmacists to prescribe and dispense birth control.

The GOP-controlled Assembly passed the measure with broad bipartisan support last session, but it died in the Senate. Its sponsor, Republican Rep. Joel Kitchens, has said he’s optimistic it will get a Senate vote this session.

This marks the first time the bill has come up since Wisconsin’s 1849 law banning abortion went back into effect after last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. Republicans and their anti-abortion allies, who suffered a series of defeats in ballot questions in states across the political spectrum since that ruling, are tackling the issue nationwide in a variety of ways.

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The measure, which Democrats have introduced in the past, has bipartisan support in the Assembly. But it’s unclear whether the Senate will take it up. It must pass both the Senate and Assembly, and be signed by Evers, before taking effect. Republican Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

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“I certainly am pessimistic about that bill making it through the Senate,” said Democratic state Rep. Lisa Subeck, who joined with fellow Democrats in proposing a bill Wednesday that would make access to birth control a right under state law. “It certainly seems to be a showpiece for Assembly Republicans that they can’t get their Senate colleagues to buy into.”

Opponents include Pro-Life Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Catholic Conference and Wisconsin Family Action.

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