Sen. Kelda Roys is on a mission to not let Donald Trump mislead voters about his record on abortion rights

FILE - Then-President Donald Trump and US Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett stand on a White House balcony after she was sworn in on Oct. 26, 2020 in Washington, DC. Trump has repeatedly taken credit for the appointments of Barrett, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch, who formed a right-wing majority that in 2022 repealed the abortion care protections in Roe v. Wade. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

By Bonnie Fuller

April 15, 2024

One of the Legislature’s leading advocates for women’s reproductive rights says Trump ‘hopes we’re too stupid’ to remember his role in overturning Roe v. Wade.

Absolutely no Wisconsin voter should be fooled by Donald Trump’s latest attempts to rebrand his stance on abortion, state Sen. Kelda Roys (D-Madison) warned as the 2024 presidential contest ramps in the state.

“The man responsible for overturning Roe [v. Wade] and making this country a hellscape for women now hopes we’re too stupid to remember Donald Trump … packed the federal judiciary with anti-abortion extremists,” Roys said in an interview with UpNorthNews.

Roys said she is determined to prevent Trump from gaslighting Wisconsinites and trying to paint himself as a moderate on abortion. Nor, she said, will she stay silent while he tries to induce amnesia about the fact that he was the president who appointed three highly conservative justices to the US Supreme Court who upended precedent and ended American women’s Constitutional right to an abortion, a right they had for nearly 50 years.

“Trump is desperate to distract people from the devastation he’s caused,” Roys said.”But he just admitted that he’s fine with torturing women by forcing them to carry doomed pregnancies, that he’s proud of enabling cops to investigate women who suffer miscarriages, and that he supports putting doctors in prison if they don’t let a woman get close enough to death before providing an abortion.”

Trump bragged in a video statement posted on April 8 that he was “proudly the person responsible for the ending of Roe v. Wade.” Trump asserted that states could now determine their own abortion laws or bans and claimed that this was “the will of the people” and that now Americans can “do what’s right for your family and do what’s right for yourself.”

That is not true.

Prior to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson ruling in June 2022 which ended the national right to abortion, 61% of Americans believed that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a Pew Research poll. So, allowing states to severely restrict or ban abortion was not the will of a majority of the American people.

A year later, a Gallup poll found that the number of Americans who believed that abortion should be legal in all or certain circumstances had grown to 85% and only 13% felt it should be illegal.

“Every person deserves the freedom to make her own reproductive health decisions. Government — whether federal, state or local — should never prevent us from receiving the health care we need,” Roys said in an exclusive interview.

However, instead of being able to make their own reproductive health choices, Wisconsinites immediately experienced the impact of the Trump Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision when an 1849 law, amended in 1858, arguably banning all abortions, except to save the life of the mother, immediately went back into effect in the state. (It had been superseded during the time Roe was in place.)

Abortion through 22 weeks gestation only became legal again, more than a year later, in September 2023, when a Dane County judge ruled that the 1849 law did not apply to elective abortion. The case has now been appealed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

“I’m somewhat hopeful that our Supreme Court will help protect abortion rights when it finally makes a ruling in the case,” said Roys.

But even if it does, Roys is issuing a red alert warning to Wisconsinites about the threats to their freedom if they vote to elect Trump to the presidency again.

“A second Trump administration will enact a backdoor national abortion ban by directing the Department of Justice to enforce the long-defunct Comstock Act and reversing the FDA’s [Food and Drug Administration] decades-old approval of abortion medication,” she said.

That, she explained, wouldn’t even require approval from Congress—Trump could get it all done himself.

“He doesn’t need Congress to enact a national abortion ban, he can use laws already on the books like the Comstock Act, a 150 year-old law. He can also use the power of executive agencies like the FDA to functionally eliminate access to abortion,” explained Roys, who was the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin for four years.

“Whether you’re in a red state or blue state, it won’t matter because Trump will be cutting off access to mifepristone, which is one of the medications used in most abortions in the United States, or any kind of surgical supply or even any information, even knowledge about how to obtain an abortion, and that will bring any access to abortion to a screeching halt across this country.”

In other words, Roys wants Wisconsinites to understand that they should not have confidence in any of Trump’s assurances that he won’t sign a national abortion ban law because he doesn’t need to. He has plenty of alternative ways to end abortion, IVF and even contraceptive access, in order to please his right wing MAGA base, with or without Congress’ support.

A plan for Trump to govern if re-elected in November is outlined in chilling detail in Project 2025, which calls for the full enforcement of the 1873 Comstock Act, which prohibits the shipping of any medication or surgical equipment which could be used to provide an abortion.

As well, Trump can appoint a director to the FDA, who can simply pull the ‘abortion pill’, mifepristone from the market nationwide.

Thanks to Trump and the Supreme Court’s decision, American women in 21 states that have banned or severely restricted abortion already find themselves living in a “dystopian hellscape,” said Roys.

An estimated 64,000 women have had to give birth to babies after being raped in states that had abortion bans since Dobbs. Thousands more have had to flee to states where abortion is still legal to have the procedure. The delays and uncertainty mean women have come to the brink of death from sepsis infections before receiving life-saving abortions. Women have been left to bleed out in hospital parking lots until they are at risk from dying, and others have become infertile from the sepsis infections they were forced to endure before being legally allowed to receive treatment.

At least one pregnant Texas woman’s death has been linked to the state’s draconian abortion ban.

Wisconsin’s US Senate Race

Roys also wants to alert Wisconsinites to the risk of their reproductive freedom if they elect multimillionaire Eric Hovde to the US Senate. He is the Republican challenger to current Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, who has represented the state since 2013.

Hovde, who was born into a wealthy Wisconsin family, now owns multiple banks and real estate ventures and has spent much of his time living in a $7 million Laguna Beach mansion in California.

“There’s no greater contrast than that between Tammy Baldwin, who has been a champion for reproductive freedom and frankly, for health care for all her political career, and Eric Hovde, a California mega-millionaire who has described himself as 100% pro-life. He supported the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the appointment of judges that would destroy access to abortion care,” she emphasized.

Hovde’s spokesperson recently told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the Senate contender supports a restrictive abortion law with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.

Roys told UpNorthNews that she believes “if Eric Hovde is elected to the US Senate, he will rubber stamp any Trump plan to restrict access to abortion. He also might be the vote that flips the Senate from one that will defend reproductive freedom to one that bans abortion nationally.”

Threats to IVF, Birth Control

Access to in vitro fertilization (IVF), made more of a concern after a recent Alabama Supreme Court ruling, is threatened in Wisconsin, Roys said, because Republican members of the Legislature have pushed to add an amendment to the state constitution that would establish “personhood” for fertilized eggs.

If successful, that would lead to the same situation as Alabama, where IVF clinics had to stop providing treatments once frozen embryos were given the same rights as living people.

“It’s certainly the goal of some Republicans … to ban anything that might cause harm or destruction of an embryo,” said Roys. “And of course, IVF is a medical procedure in which you are trying to create as many healthy embryos as possible, and the embryos that are not healthy or not viable are not going to be implanted. And you can’t really do that kind of important fertility treatment if you have a world in which every fertilized egg is a person.”

Roys also wants Wisconsinites to know that all the Republicans in their state Senate voted against establishing a state right to contraception and against a right to fertility treatment.

“They want to make it as hard and punishing as possible when a woman has children and they want to force her to have children when her circumstances won’t allow it,” Roys said.

But Roys said she is heartened when she meets Wisconsinites around the state who tell her, “Listen, I am an Independent or I was a Republican, but I can’t vote for them right now until we secure the right to an abortion again because I’m scared about what’s going to happen with my daughters, and I don’t want them to have to face a pregnancy and not have the doctor concerned about saving them, their health and their life.”

“ And a lot of people are saying, ‘Boy I never realized when I said, I’m pro-life, I didn’t realize what that meant to actually criminalize abortion.”

Author

  • Bonnie Fuller

    Bonnie Fuller is the former CEO & Editor-in-Chief of HollywoodLife.com, and the former Editor-in-Chief of Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, USWeekly and YM. She now writes about politics and reproductive rights.

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