Press Release: Gov. Evers Slams Legislative Republicans for Failing to Protect Reproductive Rights for Wisconsin Families

Office of Governor Tony Evers
Gov. Evers Slams Legislative Republicans for Failing to Protect Reproductive Rights for Wisconsin Families
As U.S. Supreme Court appears poised to overturn Roe, Wisconsin Republicans reject repeal of 1849-era law that prohibits nearly all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest
Republicans defy the nearly 60 percent of Wisconsinites who support safe, legal access to abortion services

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today slammed Republicans in the Wisconsin State Legislature for abjectly refusing to repeal Wisconsin’s archaic criminal abortion ban and failing to protect reproductive rights for Wisconsin families. Republicans today rejected a repeal of Wisconsin’s criminal abortion prohibition, which could go back into effect if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, banning abortion in Wisconsin in nearly all instances, including in cases of rape and incest.

Earlier this month, in the wake of a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion revealing the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, Gov. Evers signed Executive Order #168 calling a special session of the Wisconsin State Legislature to take up a clean repeal of Wisconsin’s archaic criminal abortion ban. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe established a constitutional right to abortion—a right Wisconsinites have relied upon now for nearly 50 years. Wisconsin is one of several states that has an existing criminal abortion ban that was never removed from state law after the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe, which could go back into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe. The law would ban nearly all abortions in Wisconsin, including in cases of rape or incest.

Legislative Republicans’ decision today, and a potential Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe, stand in stark contrast to the opinions of the people of Wisconsin and the United States. According to the Marquette University Law School Poll, nearly 60 percent of Wisconsinites support safe and legal access to abortion. Similarly, a national survey conducted just last month by Marquette University Law School found similar support, with nearly 70 percent saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases. 

In a direct rebuff of the people of Wisconsin, Republicans in the Legislature today gaveled out of the governor’s special session to repeal Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban, refusing to give the repeal any consideration or debate. The move ensures Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban remains in state law, likely jeopardizing reproductive healthcare rights and access in Wisconsin in the imminent event that Roe is overturned.

“Time and time again, the people of Wisconsin have asked Republican legislators to do what they are elected to do—to take action on pressing issues facing our state, to do the right thing, and to help the people we are elected to serve. Today, they once again failed to muster the courage to perform that simple duty,” said Gov. Evers.

“Wisconsinites support Roe, and they support access to safe, legal abortion. I hear from Wisconsinites who just want their loved ones, friends, and neighbors to get the healthcare they need when they need it. And Republicans’ refusal to act will have real and severe consequences for all of us and the people we care most about who could see their ability to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions stripped away from them.

“Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade, a ruling that has guaranteed the reproductive rights Wisconsinites have relied upon for nearly 50 years. Today, given the opportunity to protect those very rights, Republicans balked, leaving women and families across the state behind and providing no certainty or security for accessing the reproductive healthcare every person deserves. And, in doing so, they are helping to ensure our kids and grandkids grow up in a world where they have fewer rights than we did growing up—and that’s just wrong.”

An online version of this release is available here.