In every state where reproductive freedom has been on the ballot since 2022, the pro-freedom side has won out.
Representative Lisa Subeck has represented the 78th District in the State Assembly since January, 2015. In the State Legislature, Rep. Subeck remains a staunch advocate for social and economic justice, as well as access to affordable, quality early childhood education, protecting our environment, women’s equality, and access to health care.
When the U.S. Supreme Court dismantled nearly 50 years of legal precedent and stripped millions of Americans of their reproductive freedom last summer, abortion bans in over a dozen states went into effect immediately. States were left to determine the path forward for abortion access, and because of this, millions of Americans are less free today than they were a year ago.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization meant that Wisconsin’s archaic 1849 criminal abortion ban, which doesn’t include exceptions for rape or incest, can once again be enforced. The consequences are chilling.
While the ban does include a narrow exception for the life of a patient, there is no guidance on when a case becomes life-threatening. This means that medical professionals have to seek legal advice before administering lifesaving care, which delays patients’ access to care. This antiquated statute has led to horrific cases, like a Wisconsin woman who was left to bleed for over a week until doctors felt they were legally required to save the patient’s life.
Wisconsin Republicans, including State Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, have rejected every attempt by my Democratic colleagues and Gov. Tony Evers to repeal our state’s abortion ban, even in the face of its profound unpopularity. Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul have mounted a challenge to the abortion ban, leaving the future of reproductive freedom in Wisconsin to the courts.
This should not be our reality. Public opinion polling shows that 66% of Wisconsin voters believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. And yet, because of Republican obstructionism, voters in Wisconsin have not been allowed to vote directly on reproductive freedom as they did in Kansas, Kentucky, and Michigan. There’s a simple reason for this: In every state where reproductive freedom has been on the ballot since 2022, the pro-freedom side has won out, and Republicans won’t let that happen.
Let’s be clear: Even if the Wisconsin Supreme Court overturns the 1849 abortion ban, so long as Republicans hold power in Madison, there’s a risk that a new abortion ban could pass through the Legislature. The only way forward is to make sure that anti-abortion, anti-freedom Republicans no longer control the levers of power. Abortion will be on the ballot in every election from here on out, and this is one fight we cannot afford to lose.