MADISON, Wis. – Today, Dane County Supervisors Sarah Smith and Cecely Castillo published an open letter calling upon Wisconsin’s District Attorneys, Sheriffs, and Police Chiefs to pledge that they will not utilize the resources of their offices to investigate or prosecute individuals’ health care decisions including accessing abortion care. This open letter has been signed by over 60 local elected officials from over a dozen Wisconsin counties.
The recent U.S. Supreme Court leak indicates that the court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which have protected access to abortion for nearly 50 years. Overturning Roe could trigger Wis. Stat. § 940.04, a 173-year-old Wisconsin law criminalizing abortion.
“The revival of Wisconsin’s draconian abortion ban would have damaging consequences for our communities, which is why we’re calling upon local law enforcement to not utilize their resources on its enforcement,” said Supervisor Smith. “All people who need abortions should be able to access them safely and on demand without threat of investigation, prosecution, or other harm.”
In 2020, 6,336 abortions were provided for Wisconsin residents that lived in nearly every county of the state. The signers on this open letter include Mayors, County Board Supervisors, City Councilmembers, Village Trustees, and School Board Members from Calumet, Chippewa, Dane, Dunn, Eau Claire, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Pierce, Racine, Sheboygan, St. Croix, Superior, and Winnebago counties.
“People will still need to access abortion care if Roe is overturned Those with resources will be able to obtain the health care they need. Local law enforcement officials must stand against the criminalization of personal health care decisions which will just heighten health care inequities,” said Supervisor Castillo. “Consuming investigative and prosecutorial resources to enforce an abortion ban at the expense of other law enforcement efforts will not keep our communities any safer. Instead, it will inflict further harm on survivors of rape, human trafficking, and domestic violence.”
As of this release, abortion is still legal in Wisconsin and providers like Planned Parenthood are open and providing services for their patients. People seeking an abortion can also access abortion pills online through organizations like AidAccess. Abortion funds like Women’s Medical Fund, Options Fund, Freedom Fund, and Midwest Action Coalition can also provide support to those in need of an abortion.