MADISON – When Politico published Justice Alito’s draft opinion for the Supreme Court’s upcoming opinion in the case of Dobbs vs. Jackson, Wisconsin’s Governor, Tony Evers (D), immediately announced a special session to repeal a law passed in 1849 that outlaws abortion in all cases except when “necessary” to save the life of the mother.
Wisconsin Republicans, who control the Assembly (Wisconsin’s lower legislative chamber) and Senate immediately shut the special session down and Senator Chris Kapenga (R) issued a statement calling out the governor for making “a calculated campaign move and the exact reason why the Legislature isn’t in session during campaign season.”
Pro-lifers in Wisconsin are divided as to the effectiveness of Wisconsin Statute 940.04 with Pro-Life Wisconsin Legislative Director Matt Sande writing that “section 940.04 contains a massive loophole – a broad and undefined life-of-the-mother exception – through which to drive abortion on demand. Pro-Life Wisconsin will work hard to close this loophole and pass a total protection statutory abortion ban, and we will need a pro-life governor to sign it.” Others, such as Wisconsin Right to Life’s Legislative Director Gracie Skogman believe that “940.04 affirms that all lives are valuable and worthy of protection under Wisconsin law, and will allow our state to protect preborn lives if Roe is overturned.”
Wisconsin has become a tinderbox on the fight over abortion with pro-abortion groups claiming responsibility for arson attacks on pro-life centers such as the one perpetrated on Mother’s Day against Wisconsin Family Action:
After his attempts to overturn Wisconsin’s abortion ban failed, Governor Evers issued a press release reiterating his pro-abortion stance:
Wisconsin’s original abortion ban is a soon-to-be living example of Roe’s flawed historical analysis, something central to Justice Alito’s explanation for reversing Roe and Casey . The deceptive narrative spun by Justice Blackmun in the Roe opinion was that “throughout the major portion of the 19th century, abortion was viewed with less disfavor than under most American statutes currently in effect (in 1972)”. Of course, as Wisconsin’s abortion ban shows, during the early and mid 1800’s one state after another were passing strict abortion bans that conformed to the evolving medical knowledge of prenatal development.
Justice Alito forcefully expresses this in his draft opinion:
Until the latter part of the 20th century, there was no support in American law for a constitutional right to obtain an abortion. Zero. None. No state constitutional provision had recognized such a right … Not only was there no support for such a constitutional right until shortly before Roe, but abortion had long been a crime in every single State.Justice Samuel Alito, leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson case
It is also worth mentioning that the constitutional vehicle used by Roe, the 14th Amendment, was ratified in 1868, in the midst of the nation’s rejection of abortion. There is no chance that what the nation increasingly viewed as a heinous crime under state law would simultaneously be considered a fundamental right at the federal level.
On Wednesday, abortion advocates organized by a Planned Parenthood led a wild protest inside the capitol building. Many commentators likened the mob shouting “Our choice. If we don’t get it? Shut it down” to a real “insurrection”: