Evers calls special session to repeal abortion ban

By: - June 8, 2022 5:14 pm
Gov. Tony Evers addresses the crowd at a prochoice rally at the Capitol on May 14, 2022 | Photo by Luther Wu

Gov. Tony Evers addresses the crowd at a prochoice rally at the Capitol on May 14, 2022 | Photo by Luther Wu

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order on Wednesday calling a special session of the Legislature to repeal a state law from 1849 that makes abortion a crime

The law, which remains on the books, effectively bans abortion in all circumstances but rape or incest. If, as expected, the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade this summer, the Wisconsin ban will immediately go into effect. 

Wisconsin is one of several states with laws that will immediately criminalize abortion once Roe v. Wade’s constitutional guarantee to the procedure is ended. 

“Every single Wisconsinite should have the right to consult their family, their faith, and their doctor to make a reproductive healthcare decision that is right for them,” Evers said in a statement. “And every single Wisconsinite should be able to make that deeply personal decision without interference from politicians who don’t know anything about their life circumstances, values, or responsibilities. We cannot allow our kids and grandkids to grow up in a world where they have fewer rights than we did growing up. That’s not the future we’ve promised them. And it’s not the future they deserve.”

Evers has called for several special sessions throughout his term as governor on issues from gun control to election administration. In every instance, the Republicans in control of the body have opened the session and immediately ended it without taking any votes. 

The end of Roe is likely to make abortion access a major issue in this fall’s midterm elections. Democratic primary hopefuls for the U.S. Senate have made it a major issue as they campaign to determine who will face Sen. Ron Johnson in November. 

The four candidates in the Republican gubernatorial primary all oppose abortion access, and some of them are in favor of even more restrictive measures than the 19th century law. 

Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch has previously said she wouldn’t allow an exception for rape or incest because she doesn’t believe “it’s the baby’s fault how the baby is conceived.” On Wednesday, she said Republicans should ignore Evers’ call for a special session. 

“Tony Evers wants abortion without restrictions. Republicans should reject his special session,” she tweeted. 

Candidate Kevin Nicholson, who in a previous campaign said he supported legislation that would criminalize certain forms of contraception, said Wednesday that Evers is ignoring murder. 

“You ignore record murder on our streets and call a special session to encourage the continuation of a practice that has killed 500K+ Wisconsin children and 60M+ American children since #RoeVWade. You need to go,” he tweeted. 

Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) a co-author of the Abortion Rights Preservation Act, which would repeal the 1849 law, said women should have access to medical care without interference from politicians. 

“When and if to become a parent is one of the most personal and consequential decisions an individual will make, yet a pending Supreme Court decision threatens our ability to make these decisions privately and without interference from politicians,” she said in a statement. “Plainly and simply, abortion is health care, not criminal activity, and every individual should be free to make their own health care decisions. When abortion is banned, the need does not go away, putting the health and lives of those seeking abortion care in jeopardy.”


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Henry Redman
Henry Redman

Henry Redman is a staff reporter for the Wisconsin Examiner who focuses on covering Wisconsin's towns and rural areas. He previously covered crime and courts at the Daily Jefferson County Union. A lifelong Midwesterner, he was born in Cleveland, Ohio and graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a degree in journalism in May 2019.