MADISON – Ahead of the first and only gubernatorial debate tonight between Governor Tony Evers and Tim Michels, Wisconsin physicians are calling on Michels to be transparent with voters about why he “flip-flopped” his position on Wisconsin’s abortion ban, saying on Sept. 23 that he would support adding exceptions for victims of rape and incest. The reversal came after Michels consistently repeated that he supported the ban as written, with no such exceptions. 

“Wisconsinites, including doctors like myself, overwhelmingly agree that victims of rape and incest should be able to access abortion care, but we’re concerned about Michels’ only recent about-face on this critical issue,” said Dr. Jill Masana, an OB/GYN in Madison [view video statement here]. “As voters decide who to elect for governor of our state, it’s important that we know whether Tim Michels would stick to his new position or revert to his consistent position that abortion remain banned in Wisconsin even for women and girls who have been raped. When a politician like Michels says he won’t ‘flip-flop’ and then mere weeks later does exactly that, it doesn’t instill confidence in the medical community, and only adds more uncertainty to the already concerning legal landscape around abortion in our state.”

On Sept. 6, Michels told supporters he wouldn’t soften his stance on abortion, saying, “I’m winning because people see a strong leader, a man of conviction, a man who doesn’t waffle, a man who doesn’t flip-flop.” Less than three weeks later he changed his stance. 

“Tim Michels’ flip-flopping on an issue as critical as health care access for victims of rape shows precisely why politicians shouldn’t be interfering in personal decisions around abortion,” said Dr. Shefaali Sharma, an OB/GYN in Madison [view video statement here]. “Every woman in Wisconsin should have the freedom to make her own decisions about pregnancy. When extremist politicians like Tim Michels force women to carry pregnancies, it can cause immense harm, particularly in pregnancies that are especially dangerous or the result of rape or incest. Voters need to be able to know what the candidates on their ballot really believe about reproductive freedom so that they can make informed decisions that match our Wisconsin values.”

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