Governor Tony Evers (D) joined the push to pass Senate Bill 75, to repeal Wisconsin’s 172 year old abortion ban, which will eliminate certain abortion prohibitions and felony charges associated with obtaining an abortion under the old law. The abortion ban law has been unable to be enforced due to the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision, but if that court decision were to be overturned, the law would have taken effect.
The bill reads, “This bill repeals a statute relating to abortion that has been held unenforceable by a federal court. Under that statute, any person, other than the mother, who intentionally destroys the life of an unborn child is guilty of a Class H felony.”
The bill goes on to define an unborn child as “a human being.”
Evers said in a press release, “If Roe v. Wade is overturned, Wisconsin could turn back the clock 50 years on reproductive healthcare access. We cannot and should not go backwards. And frankly, folks have gotten too comfortable relying on the Court to protect access to reproductive healthcare and allowing them to decide whether the people we care about in Wisconsin—our family members, friends, and neighbors—are able to access the care they need.”
Evers continued, “Reproductive healthcare decisions are deeply personal and should be made by patients and their healthcare providers. Period. And no politician or special interest should interfere with those decisions. Instead, we should trust women to make decisions about their bodies and their healthcare, and we should be working to make sure that all Wisconsinites have access to quality, affordable healthcare, including reproductive healthcare. As long as I am governor, that’s what I’ll do.”
“Reproductive freedom is in greater jeopardy than at any time since Roe v. Wade was decided nearly 50 years ago,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul, who also supported the legislative change. “With the real possibility that Roe could be overruled this year, now is the time to pass the Abortion Rights Preservation Act.”
“Six Supreme Court Justices have made anti-choice decisions or statements. From recent oral arguments, it appears that a majority of the Court is eager to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said State Senator Kelda Roys (D-Madison), a co-author of Senate Bill 75 was quoted as saying in the press release from Evers’ office. “We must repeal Wisconsin’s archaic 172-year-old abortion ban now to ensure that pregnant people in Wisconsin can access abortion care if Roe is overturned.”
The bill was introduced by Roys and a co-author, along with 40 other state legislators.
“Roe v. Wade has been the law of the land for almost 50 years, protecting the freedom of every individual to make private reproductive healthcare decisions without interference from government,” said State Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison), co-author of the bill. “If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortion will be illegal in Wisconsin, and physicians who provide abortions could face felony charges. Abortion is health care, not criminal activity, and the Abortion Rights Preservation Act is needed to ensure it remains safe, legal, and accessible, no matter what.”
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Editor’s note: The Wisconsin Daily Star corrected this report to reflect that Gov. Evers supports the measure, Senate Bill 75, but has not yet signed the bill into law. The Daily Star regrets the error.