Republican Legislature Rebuffs Evers Call To Protect Access to Abortion

Democrats and abortion rights supporters, including Gov. Tony Evers, far right, gather for a rally outside the Wisconsin state Capitol after the Republican-controlled Legislature refused to act on a measure to create a pathway for voters to decide on whether to keep the state’s 1849 abortion ban on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in Madison, Wisc. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

By Joe Zepecki

October 5, 2022

The Wisconsin State Senate and State Assembly gaveled in and out of special session in less than 60 seconds this week – refusing to debate or vote on a proposal from Democratic Governor Tony Evers that would have improved the odds that abortion access would be protected despite the Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade earlier this year.

Since the Dobbs decision that overturned nearly 50 years of precedent protecting the freedom of women to make their own health care decisions without government intervention, Wisconsin has reverted back to an 1849 law prohibiting abortions in every instance – including rape or incest – other than to save the life of the mother.

Gov. Evers and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul have taken multiple steps to try and protect access to abortion since the Dobbs decision, including filing suit in state court. The most recent effort by Evers included calling a special session of the legislature to begin the process of letting Wisconsin voters decide the future of access to abortion directly via constitutional amendment.

Rather than debate the issue, or put it to a vote of the full legislature, Republican leadership in both houses of the state legislature gaveled in and out of session in less than a minute, technically fulfilling requirement of meeting in special session under the state constitution – while demonstrating once again that Republican Party officials are perfectly happy with state law banning abortion in cases of rape or incest.

In the wake of Republicans refusing to act on the measure he proposed, Gov. Evers vowed to continue the fight to protect access to reproductive healthcare, releasing the following statement, “We have to do everything in our power to protect access to abortion in Wisconsin and get politicians out of these personal decisions on reproductive health.”

Evers’ opponent in November’s election, Trump-endorsed businessman Tim Michels, is also on record stating that he opposes access to abortion even in cases of rape or incest.

According to recent polling by the Marquette University Law School, more than 80% of Wisconsin residents support exemptions for rape or incest, including 70% of Republicans.


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