This week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it will review Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This will be the first direct challenge to Roe v. Wade since Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation. Should the Court decide to fully overturn Roe, abortion is likely to become a crime in Wisconsin in all but the rarest of circumstances due to a criminal abortion law in place since 1849 that is currently unenforceable because of Roe.
“Opponents of comprehensive reproductive healthcare have long been planning for this moment to challenge Roe,” said Mike Murray, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. “By taking this case, the Court will be revisiting nearly 50 years of precedent that has protected people’s access to safe and legal abortion in Wisconsin. Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin is prepared to fight to ensure that every person in Wisconsin who needs access to abortion can get the care that they need,” Murray continued.
Wisconsin is one of nine states in the country with a criminal abortion statute still in place that could immediately go into effect if Roe is overturned. Under the 172-year-old Wisconsin law criminalizing abortion, doctors and health care professionals assisting someone in obtaining an abortion would be guilty of committing a felony. The law has no exception for rape, incest, or the health of the woman.
In January, Senator Kelda Roys and Representative Lisa Subeck introduced the Abortion Rights Preservation Act to repeal Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban to ensure people can access needed abortion care should Roe be overturned. Unfortunately, Republican legislative leaders have blocked the advancement of this initiative.
“Abortion is a deeply personal, private decision that each person must be able to make for themselves, taking into account their own values, responsibilities, and life circumstances. Politicians shouldn’t make that decision for someone else,” Murray stated. “Wisconsin already has some of the strictest abortion restrictions in the country, and access to reproductive health care remains out of reach for many in our state. We call on our elected leaders to ensure that people in Wisconsin can access abortion care when they need it, regardless of who is on the Supreme Court. The Court’s decision to hear this case only reinforces the urgency with which our state legislature must act to pass the Abortion Rights Preservation Act,” Murray concluded.
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin is the advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. PPAWI engages in legislative and educational activity and works to elect candidates to office that support these goals.