MADISON – Today, Legislative Democrats introduced the Restore Roe Act, which would repeal Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban passed in 1849 and restore access to abortion in the state. The pre-Civil war ban is the oldest in the nation, enacted well before women gained the right to vote.
The 174 year-old law, which subjects any doctor performing abortion services to felony criminal penalties including prison time, was rendered unenforceable in 1973 by the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision protecting legal abortion. When the court overturned Roe last year, Wisconsin was left in a state of uncertainty regarding the status of its criminal abortion ban, and the provision of abortion care in the state has ceased.
Representative Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire) issued the following statement in response:
“I am proud to stand with Governor Evers and my fellow Democratic legislators to introduce Restore Roe legislation that would repeal Wisconsin’s antiquated 1800s-era abortion ban and restore the freedom Wisconsinites had just a few short months ago.
“We must restore abortion access in Wisconsin. We’re not backing down. All people deserve access to reproductive healthcare when they need it, on a timeline that works for them, and in a community and an environment they trust and feel safe in. We know criminalizing abortion does not work. We know the majority of Wisconsinites disagree with overturning Roe.
“Reproductive decisions are a personal choice and should not be dictated by politicians. The severity of this situation calls for action, at all levels, to codify bodily autonomy, privacy, and access to reproductive healthcare in law. We must not give up on the fight for safe and legal abortion in Wisconsin. We must act now to pass the Restore Roe Act in Wisconsin to ensure we all have the freedom to determine our own futures.”