Evers calls special session to repeal 1849 law that criminalizes abortion in Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is calling the state legislature into a special session to repeal a 172-year-old state law that criminalizes abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest.
Evers made the announcement during an event in Milwaukee on Wednesday. Evers called for the special session to take place on June 22.
“I know not everyone shares the same views about abortion, but here’s what I do know: Every single Wisconsinite should have the right to consult their family, their faith, their doctor to make a reproductive health care decision that’s right for them. And every single Wisconsinite should be able to make that deeply personal decision without interference from politicians who don’t know anything about their life circumstances, values and responsibilities,” Evers said.
If Roe v. Wade were to be overturned — as a leaked draft version of a Supreme Court opinion indicates — individual states would have to make their own decisions on whether abortion is legal. In Wisconsin, that means a law passed in 1849 that criminalizes abortion and bans the procedure in all cases — including rape and incest — except when a mother’s life is in danger would once again become active law.
Evers said Wednesday he’s calling the session because he believes families should have the choice to do what is right for them, instead of having the decision made for them.
“This is something that’s happening to people right here in Wisconsin. There are so many people in each of our lives — our family members, our friends and our neighbors — who could see their ability to make their own reproductive health care decisions taken from them,” Evers said.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin released a statement after the governor’s announcement, applauding the decision to call the special session.
“Criminalizing abortion in Wisconsin, threatening women’s lives and doctors with prison time for providing essential abortion care is not the future we want for ourselves, friends, families or communities,” the statement said. “It is unthinkable that we would allow elected leaders from nearly 200 years ago to determine the freedoms and future of people in Wisconsin today. We call on our elected leaders today to repeal Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban that could prevent people from accessing critical health care.”
Planned Parenthood has previously said it would stop providing abortion services in Wisconsin should Roe v. Wade be overturned, despite Attorney General Josh Kaul saying he would discourage district attorneys and law enforcement in the state to enforce the ban.
Only three counties in Wisconsin have facilities that offer abortion services — Dane, Milwaukee, and Sheboygan. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin says they plan to partner with the organization’s Illinois chapter to refer abortion services there should Roe v. Wade fall.
Evers has called several special sessions during his administration — including sessions to address a projected budget surplus, unemployment, BadgerCare expansion, public school funding, gun control and police reform — all of which have been ended in seconds with no action being taken by the Republican-controlled legislature.
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