Hi, this is Representative Sondy Pope with this week’s Democratic Radio Address.

Starting, or adding, to your family can be one of the most joyful times in a person’s life.  But for many women, finding maternity care is getting harder and harder.  27 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties do not have a single OB/GYN. The Mayo Clinic is ending labor and delivery services at its hospitals in Menomonie and Barron.  And there are no maternity care providers of any kind in Rusk or Pepin counties. 

This means that some of our neighbors and friends are at higher risk for poor maternal—and infant—health outcomes.  And it’s only going to get worse.

The fear of being charged with a felony under Wisconsin’s archaic 1849 abortion ban, which is once again the law in our state, will make it difficult to recruit students interested in becoming OB-GYNs or family practice physicians in Wisconsin.  You don’t have to take my word for it.  Experts at the Wisconsin Medical Society and the UW Medical School are sounding the alarm. 

My Democratic colleagues and I have tried to get the Republicans who control the Legislature to revisit the ban.  But they refuse to work with us or Gov. Tony Evers. They have made it clear that they support a law enacted more than 170 years ago before women were even allowed to vote.  It’s time to listen to the overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites who believe that abortion should be legal.

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