MADISON Wis. – Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that established a constitutional right to an abortion, Wisconsin physicians today called on the state Supreme Court to rule in favor of a lawsuit to repeal Wisconsin’s 1849 ban on nearly all abortions. Dr. Kristin Lyerly, an OB/GYN from Green Bay and member of CTP’s Reproductive Freedom Taskforce, is a plaintiff in the lawsuit.
“As a mom, a physician, and a 6th generation Wisconsinite, I am deeply committed to ensuring the health and well being of women and families in Wisconsin,” said Dr. Lyerly. “And that means that I can’t just sit by and let women and babies die when we could act now to literally save their lives. That’s why I chose to join Attorney General Kaul and a handful of other physicians as a plaintiff in the lawsuit seeking to repeal Wisconsin’s 1849 criminal abortion ban. Wisconsin women deserve access to the full range of reproductive health care so they can live full, healthy, free lives – and that begins by repealing Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban.”
The physicians’ call came after the National Women’s March brought out reproductive rights supporters from across Wisconsin and the country yesterday in Madison. Dr. Ann Helms, Milwaukee critical care neurologist and CTP’s Wisconsin State Lead, was in attendance at the march.
“Because blocking women from getting abortions devastates their health and infringes on their personal freedom, the time is more urgent than ever to end Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban,” said Dr. Helms. “With the stakes so high to millions of women in Wisconsin, today and in the future, we as physicians call on the Wisconsin Supreme Court to rule in favor of Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul’s lawsuit to repeal Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban. By ending Wisconsin’s outdated and cruel ban against abortion, we can give women in our state the freedom to make their own medical decisions and allow doctors to do our jobs.”
Attorney General Kaul’s lawsuit could ultimately be decided by the state Supreme Court, which currently has a 4-3 conservative majority, though the seat of one retiring conservative justice is up for election in April.
“Wisconsin’s abortion restrictions are tying the hands of doctors and medical professionals who must now define all the emergencies and conditions that could result in a pregnant woman’s death,” Dr. Jill Cousino, an OB/GYN in southern Wisconsin who spoke only on her own behalf, not on behalf of her employer. “When complications arise in pregnancy we are forced to ask if a woman is close enough to death to intervene to end the pregnancy and save her life. The only people who should be making medical decisions for our patients are the patient and their doctor, not politicians, courts or prosecutors.”
About the Committee to Protect Health Care
The Committee to Protect Health Care is a national mobilization of doctors, health care professionals, and advocates who are building a pro-patient health care majority in Congress and in states so that we can live in an America where everyone has the health care they need to thrive. To learn more: www.committeetoprotect.org