Gov. Tony Evers delivering the 2022 State of the State address earlier this year. Evers on Tuesday led 17 governors on a letter calling on Congress to write the right to abortion into federal statutes. (Screenshot | YouTube)
Responding to the leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade, the decision that legalized abortion, a group of 17 governors led by Gov. Tony Evers called on Congress Tuesday to pass legislation guaranteeing abortion rights under federal law.
“Reproductive healthcare decisions are deeply personal and should be made by patients in consultation with their healthcare providers, not by politicians,” states the letter that Evers and the other governors, all Democrats, sent to Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate.
The letter was a response to Politico’s publication late Monday of a draft opinion in the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The draft opinion as written would overturn the 1973 precedent set by the Roe decision, which struck down laws against abortion and proclaimed a right for women to choose for themselves whether to terminate a pregnancy.
“Despite the widespread support for reproductive freedom, in many states across the nation, a U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs that reflects the draft opinion would immediately limit access to reproductive healthcare and, in some states, could even criminalize abortion, ending constitutional rights that have been recognized for nearly 50 years,” the letter states.
Wisconsin is one such state, with a 19th-century law on the books outlawing abortion that has never been repealed.
The governors’ letter calls for the immediate passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, protecting the right to abortion nationally. The House passed the measure in September 2021.
“We, the undersigned governors, call on honorable members of the Senate from both parties to pass this measure and for Congress to immediately take other steps needed to codify the protections prescribed in Roe v. Wade,” the letter states.
It concludes: “Overturning Roe will turn back the clock on reproductive health, and Congress must immediately take action to ensure that our nation does not go backward and that the rights of all Americans to access reproductive healthcare and abortion continue to be protected.”
In a press release announcing the letter, Evers’ office noted that the governor has several times vetoed legislation restricting abortion access. The press release also noted that Marquette University Law School polling has found that 61% of state residents believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, and 72% oppose overturning Roe v. Wade.
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