MADISON – Today, Representative Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) and Senator Melissa Agard (D-Madison) introduced LRB 1541-2, a resolution to place a question on the ballot asking voters, “Shall Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion law be repealed and the constitutional rights guaranteed under Roe v. Wade be restored?” The legislators and their Democratic colleagues held a press conference this morning commemorating the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. They were joined by Dane County Supervisor April Kigeya, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin President and CEO, Tanya Atkinson, and Dr. Kristin Lyerly, OBGYN.
The Roe v. Wade decision was overturned in the United States Supreme Court by Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health last year. Since the Dobbs decision, abortion services have ceased in Wisconsin as the state awaits clarity from the courts around enforceability of a criminal abortion ban still on the books from 1849.
“Roe vs. Wade protected our privacy and reproductive freedom for nearly 50 years, but all of that changed with the Dobbs decision,” said Representative Subeck. “With Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban – enacted before the Civil War and before women had the right to vote – still on the books, Wisconsinites no longer have the freedom to make their own family planning and reproductive health care decisions.”
Despite calls for action by the people of Wisconsin, Republicans have refused to consider bills to overturn the criminal abortion ban. Instead, they have continued promoting extreme political rhetoric on the topic. Republican leadership even ignored the governor’s special session calls last year, choosing to gavel in and out without debate or action. Just last week, Republicans blocked consideration on the floor of both houses of a Democratic proposal to place an advisory referendum on abortion on the April ballot.
“We know that Wisconsinites overwhelmingly support restoring Roe and returning access to safe and legal abortion to our state,” said Rep. Subeck. “We are introducing this resolution to give the people an opportunity to formally weigh in, and perhaps then Republicans in the legislature will finally have to listen.”
Rep. Subeck has represented the 78th Assembly District since 2015 and serves as Chair of the Assembly Democratic Caucus.