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MADISON — Republicans abruptly shut off debate before a dramatic vote approving a bill that would require women seeking an abortion first have an ultrasound performed.

The bill passed Wednesday as Democratic senators tried in vain to be recognized to speak. Republican Senate President Mike Ellis repeatedly banged his gavel and yelled that they were out of order.

The bill passed 17-15 with all Republicans in support and Democrats against.

Only two senators were able to speak Wednesday before Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald cut off debate after about 30 minutes.

Democratic Sen. Kathleen Vinehout says the bill’s intent is to close down clinics that provide abortions in Wisconsin.

Bill sponsor Republican Sen. Mary Lazich gave an impassioned defense of the measure, saying it was a small step that would protect women.

Video from the vote


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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

Special Reports