Rebecca Cooke: Repealing Roe Opens the Door to Vigilantes and Politicians Criminalizing Women and Doctors

Supreme Court abortion protest

Demonstrators protest outside of the US Supreme Court Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in Washington, DC. A draft opinion suggests the US Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, according to a Politico report released Monday. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

By rebeccacooke
May 5, 2022

Congressional candidate comments on the potential for reproductive freedom to be replaced with mandated pregnancies and restrictions on basic health care.

Growing up in Wisconsin, I relied on Planned Parenthood for healthcare—to get pap smears, birth control, and Plan B contraception, if necessary. I never questioned my ability to get access to basic reproductive health care. And if I were raped or had a major life turn, I knew I would have the right to choose whether I would carry a child or seek an abortion. My body, my choice. 

The recent news about the draft US Supreme Court decision that could repeal Roe v. Wade abortion rights is shocking, but not surprising. The far-right has been working for decades to erode the freedoms of women to decide if, when, and how they want to start a family. Republicans would rather have government-mandated pregnancies than allow a woman to have personal freedom. They’ve loaded the courts from the local level to the Supreme Court—putting partisanship above protecting freedoms. 

We cannot be on defense here. We must act to codify the right to an abortion at the federal and state levels. With the repeal of Roe v. Wade, Wisconsin’s 1849 law banning abortions would once more be in place in this state. Medical providers would be punishable by up to six years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

This will criminalize women and doctors, further opening the door to removing more rights—not just for women, but for everyone. We’ve seen this with Texas’ new vigilante law, which empowers anti-choice individuals to lob frivolous lawsuits against patients, providers, and even ride-share drivers who may be picking up someone at a clinic. 

I have dear friends who have made the choice to have an abortion. And in each circumstance they made that decision with their doctor and partner, not their congressman. A decision that’s spiritual, emotional, and deeply personal. A personal freedom that must be protected. 

This is work we thought was behind us. But with Republicans looking to mandate pregnancies for women across the country, this work has just begun. 


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