MADISON – Ahead of tonight’s debate for Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race, Wisconsin doctors are calling on Senator Ron Johnson to be clear about whether he’d support the national abortion ban introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) or would indeed support allowing states to decide. Prior to the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, Johnson had supported and even co-sponsored national bans on abortion.

“Our patients deserve to know exactly where Senator Ron Johnson stands on abortion access, so we hope he’ll address this critical issue in tonight’s debate,” said Dr. Jill Cousino, an OB/GYN in Southern Wisconsin, who is speaking on her own behalf and not on behalf of her employer [view her video statement here]. “As more and more Wisconsin women are being forced to delay care or travel to other states to receive care, they and their loved ones need to know if Senator Johnson will support letting Wisconsinites have a say on the state’s ban, or if he’ll go right back to signing on to national abortion bans as he has in the past. Doctors need to know if we’ll be able to help our patients make their personal medical decisions in private, or if we’ll have politicians like Ron Johnson interfering in our exam rooms. And we need to know if we’ll be able to provide life-saving medical care when complications come up in a pregnancy — or if we’ll be charged with a felony and jail time for doing so.”

Although when asked about this particular bill, Sen. Johnson claimed he believes abortion laws should be left up to states; yet he called a special legislative session called by Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday to give voters a say on the state’s abortion ban a “political stunt.” He had said shortly before the session that he’d support voters creating an exception for rape and incest via referendum.

Sen. Johnson has also recently and repeatedly called for Medicare spending to be changed from “mandatory” as it currently stands to “discretionary,” meaning that Congress would have to come together each year to agree to fund it. 

“Over 1.2 million Wisconsin residents rely on Medicare for their life-saving health care, and many may not realize that Senator Ron Johnson plans to put this critical program at risk,” said Dr. Shefaali Sharma, an OB/GYN in Madison. “Medicare may not be a hot-button issue in campaign ads this year, but doctors know all too well how important it is for our patients, many who are vulnerable seniors and people with long-term disabilities, to be able to access health care affordably. Senator Johnson’s proposal, which would make Medicare funding subject to the whims of Congress each year, concerns doctors gravely, so we hope he’ll be transparent about this during the debate.”

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