Madison, WI – Today the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that threatens to overturn Roe v. Wade and safe and legal abortion access for people in 26 states across the United States, including 1.3 million women in Wisconsin. If Roe is overturned, Wisconsin’s 172-year-old abortion ban could go into effect that criminalizes all abortion, at any point in pregnancy with no exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the pregnant person.
“We are witnessing the greatest threat to abortion access in nearly 50 years,” said Tanya Atkinson, President of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. “Deciding whether to become a parent is one of the most personal and life changing decisions many people will make. Unless we act now to repeal Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban, people could lose the ability to access the health care they need,” Atkinson continued.
Dr. Allison Linton, associate medical director at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said, “Abortion is a deeply personal, private decision that each person must be able to make for themselves. I trust my patients to make the decision that is right for them. It is essential for patients to be able to access the health care they need and have the power to determine their own futures,” Dr. Linton concluded.
People like Ginger, who had a pregnancy go tragically wrong and abortion became an important option for her health and family. Or people like 21-year-old college student Madi, who was not ready to have a child and wanted to finish school. Or ‘Jane’, who was an incest victim who became pregnant at 12 years old by her father. Or any of the estimated 3 million women in the United States who become pregnant following a rape.
“As the Supreme Court weighs the future of Roe, the stakes could not be any higher for sexual violence survivors,” says Pennie Meyers, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault. “Women and people with a uterus need to have decision-making authority over their own bodies, whether it is the choice to participate in sexual activity or to terminate a pregnancy. Restricting access to abortion would send a strong message to survivors that their bodies are not their own. It is also vitally important to note that if Roe were overturned, the impacts would fall most heavily on Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), who are also disproportionately impacted by sexual violence.” Meyers concluded.
Abortion in Wisconsin is already a right in name only for far too many people. With nearly a dozen restrictions already in place and only three cities where abortion is available, people struggle to access abortion. These restrictions fall hardest on Black, Indigenous, Latinx and people with low incomes, and people living in rural areas. These communities stand to lose the most if Roe is overturned.
Sarah Noble, principle partner at the BeNOBLE Group stated, “Every person deserves a Government that supports their human right to make decisions about their comprehensive healthcare needs, including abortion care. The Wisconsin criminal abortion ban is in direct violation of that human right. I and other Black Reproductive Justice leaders continue our important work and are in full support of repealing Wisconsin’s criminal abortion law because we know the difference between what happens to the lives of people when they can access abortion safely and the hardships that can follow when they cannot,” Noble concluded.
“We can’t possibly know every person’s circumstances. What we do know is banning abortion won’t stop abortion, it only makes it unsafe and puts people’s health and lives at risk.” Atkinson concluded.