940.04: Life and Death Battle in Wisconsin
Wisconsin’s pro-abortion Attorney General, Josh Kaul sued the Wisconsin GOP-controlled legislature in the most liberal county in the state alleging that the state’s complete abortion ban conflicts with abortion laws that only prohibited abortion during certain stages of development of the baby.
Wisconsin’s original abortion ban, 940.04, was passed during the state’s first drafting of a criminal code during the second legislative session in 1849. This was a time when the legal and medical subterfuge created to justify abortion was not on the horizon and in fact the American Medical Association and the Wisconsin Medical Society were the main proponents for criminalizing the killing of preborn babies, not just from the time of quickening, but from the moment of conception.
Historians attribute both changes—the creation of new penalties for any woman seeking an abortion and the removal of “quick” from existing prohibitions—to the influence of Dr. William Henry Brisbane, a Wisconsin doctor committed to discouraging women from seeking abortions and penalizing doctors who performed them. In 1857, Brisbane wrote to fellow doctor Horatio Robinson Storer that he intended “to get a law passed by our Legislature to meet the case, much too common, of administering drugs and injections either to prevent conception or destroy the embryo.” Weeks later, the American Medical Association (AMA) appointed Brisbane to a committee of eight members “to report upon criminal abortion, with a view to its general suppression.” The resulting report decried “the belief . . . that the foetus is not alive till after the period of quickening” and urged the AMA to lobby state legislatures to revise their statutes accordingly. By 1859, Brisbane reported to Storer that he had “succeeded in having enacted by our Legislature the following statute,” and enclosed the text of newly revised abortion laws. A Brief History of Abortion Laws in Wisconsin
The pro-abortion attorney general was answered in court yesterday by the legislators who asked the judge to dismiss the case based on the fact that legislators are not the appropriate party to be sued and, because there is no ongoing prosecution of the 1849 case, the case is not ripe to be litigated.
You can read the entire motion to dismiss from the GOP legislators HERE.
You can sign a petition to Wisconsin Governor Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul to enforce the Wisconsin abortion prohibition HERE.
The Attorney General replied on Twitter to the motion to dismiss from the legislators by calling the law that protects the right to life of Wisconsin’s preborn children, a “draconian 19th century abortion ban.”
Crucial Wisconsin Supreme Court Race
The case, which is currently being tried in the Dane County circuit court will surely make its way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where conservatives hold a slim 4-3 majority.
The makeup of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and with it the future of abortion in Wisconsin, will be decided in 2023 when a judge will be elected to replace retiring conservative justice Patience Roggensack.