For the Record: Anti-abortion arson investigation; rising Covid cases in Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Capitol Forward Statue
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FTR: Republican congressmen ask U.S. DOJ to investigate Madison arson

Rep. Bryan Steil (R-01) was one of Wisconsin’s five Republican congressmen who signed onto a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice this week, asking they join the investigation into the arson at the anti-abortion clinic on Madison’s north side last Sunday.

On For the Record, Rep. Steil compared the arson and vandalism attack to protests against police violence and systemic racial inequity across the country in 2020 in response to George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis, where former MPD police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in his murder.

“There is no room in our society for criminal behavior as an expression of political thought. That involves all criminal activity,” Rep. Steil told host Naomi Kowles in response to a question about why there was a lack of outrage over similar violence against abortion clinics.

Watch the full interview above.

FTR: Wisconsin abortion activists plan new connections across state lines to support women if Roe is overturned

Wisconsin-based advocacy groups are already planning how to shift their services to support women seeking out of state abortions if Roe v Wade is overturned, leaving Wisconsin with a 173-year-old law banning all abortions except those that save a mother’s life.

Lucy Marshall, president of the Women’s Medical Fund in Wisconsin, said they are developing partnerships with funds in other states where abortion would still be protected under state law. The WMF helps fund abortions and logistical aid like travel and childcare costs for Wisconsin women seeking abortions in Wisconsin or traveling out of state.

“Wisconsin residents who go to neighboring states like Minnesota or Illinois will be able to connect with abortion funds that have the local expertise, relationship, knowledge,” Marshall explained. “Those partnerships will look like putting our funding together, making sure that people from Wisconsin who are going to clinics in Illinois or Minnesota are still able to have the gaps in their costs for abortions paid fully.”

The group helped fund about 1,500 abortions in 2021, a 30% increase from the previous year. So far in 2022, they’ve helped fund about 500 abortions for Wisconsinites.

FTR: State’s chief medical officer on rising Covid cases in Wisconsin and nationwide

The Department of Health Services’ chief medical officer Dr. Ryan Westergaard joined For the Record to discuss the increase in Covid cases in Wisconsin and nationwide.

“We need to pay attention, and we need to be smart,” he said. In addition to ensuring people have completed their vaccine series including boosters, he noted that medications are far more widely available for people to prevent severe disease if they do become infected.

The current case counts are “absolutely” an undercount, he said, when factoring in at-home rapid tests and people self-isolating on their own without reporting their cases to public health.

While hospitalizations remain relatively low in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s Covid tracker does show that 88 hospitalizations have been added in just the last 7 days, bringing the count on Friday to 345 statewide. That’s up from 141 cases on April 13, a month earlier.

Watch the full interview with Dr. Westergaard above

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