MADISON, Wis. — After Tim Michels won the Wisconsin Republican primary to be the GOP candidate for governor, Wisconsin physicians today raised serious concerns about what Michels’ support for an 1849 state law banning nearly all abortions will mean for women’s health.

“We are already seeing the devastating impact of this ban, as pregnant women in Wisconsin are forced to delay life-saving health care because doctors rightfully fear criminal prosecution,” said Dr. Kristin Lyerly, OB/GYN in Green Bay and member of CTP’s Reproductive Freedom Taskforce. “Women don’t deserve this, and they don’t deserve having politicians with no medical training force them to follow a cruel, deadly law written a year after Wisconsin became a state, 70 years before women could even vote in this country.”

Tim Michels supports the state’s extreme 1849 ban on abortions that forces victims of rape and incest to carry pregnancies to term. Previously, Michels has said that forcing a rape victim to deliver a baby is “not unreasonable,” according to a Wisconsin State Journal report June 13, 2004, when Michels ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate.

“By preventing women from getting access to abortions, Tim Michels will force victims of rape to carry their pregnancies, including forcing young girls who are sexually assaulted to deliver their rapist’s child – and that’s simply barbaric,” said Dr. Ann Helms, Milwaukee critical care neurologist and the Committee’s WI State Lead. “By banning abortion, Tim Michels will force pregnant cancer patients to forego treatment that can save their lives. By denying women access to the entire spectrum of reproductive care, including abortion, Tim Michels will force women across Wisconsin to suffer in so many different ways. As a physician, I am extremely troubled that Tim Michels wants to restrict anyone from exercising her medical freedom and inflict suffering on countless women and girls.”

With a Republican-controlled legislature firmly opposed to abortions, Michels could make Wisconsin’s already restrictive laws preventing access to abortions even more restrictive if he were governor. Pro-Life Wisconsin and Wisconsin Family Action are calling on lawmakers to pass a so-called personhood amendment to ban abortion in the state constitution, which would prevent doctors from performing abortions even if a woman faces death.

“Politicians like Tim Michels have zero medical expertise and should not be making decisions that will affect the health and the lives of my patients,” said Dr. Jill Masana, OB/GYN in Madison. “Tim Michels’ one-size-fits-all ban restricts women from accessing the full range of reproductive medicine, including abortion, and prevents them from exercising full autonomy over their bodies.”

Around 6 in 10 Wisconsin voters support access to abortion, a rate that has been consistent in the past 10 years.

Dr. Shefaali Sharma, a Madison OB/GYN, said, “My patients trust doctors to provide all medical options, doctors trust our patients to freely decide what’s best for them based on those options, and at no point in this private doctor-patient relationship should a politician step in to rob women of the freedom to make their own medical decisions. Patients don’t want government meddling in their private medical decisions and neither do the overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites.”

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