The Problem: In 2020, over 6,400 babies were killed in the womb in Wisconsin.[1] A Wisconsin law prohibits the performance of abortions in the state except in the case of the life of the mother but it is unenforceable due to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973.[2] Although pro-life legislators and governors in Wisconsin have successfully curtailed unlimited abortion in the state, 41 percent of the 6,430 abortions performed in Wisconsin in 2020 occurred after eight weeks of gestation, including fifty-three total abortions performed after twenty weeks of gestation.

At the end of last year, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that has the potential to overturn Roe v. Wade, and possibly return the decision on abortion legality to the states. Should that potentiality occur, Wisconsin’s law prohibiting abortion may be effective immediately when the Supreme Court decision is published in June of this year.

However, instead of supporting existing state law and honoring the will of the people through their elected representatives, Wisconsin’s Democratic Attorney General, Josh Kaul, joined an amicus brief before the Supreme Court advocating for constitutional protections for abortion.[3] Gov. Tony Evers has publicly stated he will veto any legislation that restricts abortion, a threat which he has fulfilled to the tune of killing five pro-life bills, including the Born Alive Act, a highly popular law that prohibits the murder of babies born alive after a botched abortion.[4]

The Solution: Wisconsin needs to continue to entrench pro-life policy into state law with common-sense legislation that affirms what we all know to be true—that a baby in the womb is a human with a right to life. To do this we need both a pro-life majority in the legislature and a governor who will sign pro-life policies into law. Pro-life policies include things such as the fetal heartbeat bill and cutting off all state and federal funding in Wisconsin to organizations that provide abortions, but also lesser-known approaches, such as giving pregnant mothers the right to claim their unborn child for the Wisconsin Earned Income Credit (EIC) [5] and expanding the circumstances under which a father is required to pay child support during pregnancy.[6]    

With a long-awaited change in abortion policy likely on the horizon, Wisconsin is poised to pioneer a new culture regarding reproductive health and human rights in the state—one that is centered on unwavering respect for life from conception to natural death and wholehearted support for the life and health of mothers and their unborn and born children. This can be achieved through a combination of pro-life elected officials enacting life-affirming policies along with the pro-life movement’s longstanding efforts to support women and their children through the work of Pregnancy Care Centers as well as alternatives to abortion, such as adoption and foster care.

Resources:

  1. https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/publications/p45360-20.pdf
  2. https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/940/i/04
  3. https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/19/19-1392/192963/20210920135240540_19-1392%20Amicus%20Brief.pdf
  4. https://news.yahoo.com/wisconsins-governor-vetoed-5-republican-203929510.html
  5. https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/jobservice/taxcredit/othertaxcredits.htm#:~:text=Federal%20EIC%3A%%0B20Maximum%20of%20%242%2C747,children%20(maximum%20credit%20%241%2C950)
  6. https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/cs/benefits-birth-costs

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