Doctor and female patient
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Assembly Speaker Robin Vos indicates an abortion ban exception for rape and incest victims would require victims to go through police reporting— something few victims seek—delaying their health care.

What Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) considers to be a compromise on the state’s abortion ban doesn’t feel like one to crime victims and their doctors.

In the wake of Gov. Tony Evers’ reelection, Vos indicated that he is open to allowing exceptions to the state’s abortion ban for victims of rape or incest, but he added the stipulation that victims might be required to first file a report to police, something a majority of victims forego because they want to avoid further intrusion or are fearful their abuser will find out.

“It just underlines that he doesn’t get it,” said Dr. Kristin Lyerly, an obstetrician-gynecologist. “One in three women in this country are victims of intimate partner violence. One in three. And you know how many of those people actually report it? One in four. It’s a fraction because these people are embarrassed. They’re threatened. They’re often in bad situations where their partner will come after them—there will be consequences. So they don’t have that option.”

“I mean, play this out with me,” Lyerly said Monday on UpNorthNews Radio. “I am a physician and a patient comes to me and explains that this has happened and I’m trying to take care of her. But she doesn’t want anyone to know. She just wants to be whole. So how do I tell her, ‘No, I can’t provide the care that you need until you file a police report?’ And then she goes home. And what happens? She doesn’t get the care that she needs.” 

A spokesperson for Evers said the governor would veto an abortion ban with limited exceptions and a police reporting requirement for victims.Evers and state Attorney General Josh Kaul have filed a lawsuit, asking a a court to repeal the state’s 1849 abortion ban, which went back into effect in June after the US Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision striking down the constitutional right to abortion previously guaranteed by Roe v. Wade

New state Senate Democratic Leader Melissa Agard (D-Madison) also told UpNorthNews there would be no compromises on women’s reproductive health and freedoms.

“It is absolutely imperative that everyone have the ability to go to their doctor’s office and not bring along the police department and politicians and the court system,” Agard said on the radio program last week.

Lyerly calls the police report requirement an inadequate solution to a giant problem and wants the 1849 ban to be repealed. 

“Get out of my exam room,” Lyerly said. “Let me take care of my patients.”