Less than a week after declaring a Republican-backed plan to add exemptions to Wisconsin’s near-total ban on abortions dead-on-arrival, Gov. Tony Evers and statehouse Democrats are pushing their own abortion legislation.
The governor on Tuesday said he wants to restore abortion access in Wisconsin to what it was before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
“I have been clear from the beginning that I won’t sign a bill that leaves Wisconsin women with fewer rights or freedoms than they had before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe,” Evers said at a Capitol news conference.
Before the Dobbs decision, which overturned Roe, women in Wisconsin could get an abortion up to 20 weeks into their pregnancy. State law also required an ultrasound 24 hours before an abortion.
“This bill will simply restore access to safe, legal abortion in Wisconsin to what it was on June 23, 2022. Nothing more, and nothing less,” Evers said.
The governor’s legislation comes after Assembly Republicans proposed a plan last week that would have allowed for abortions in Wisconsin in cases of rape or incest. Currently, Wisconsin law only allows for abortions in cases where the life of the mother is in danger.
“The Republicans have their bill, the Democrats have their bill, the people of Wisconsin should be able to hear a debate about this issue, not silence,” the governor added.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said in a statement Tuesday that the governor doesn’t want a debate. He wants to dictate to lawmakers what Wisconsin’s abortion law should be.
“The Democrat’ news conference was quite a spectacle, with Gov. Evers’ hypocrisy on full display. Last week, Legislative Republicans introduced a bill that’s a reasonable middle ground to the divisive and opposing viewpoints on abortion. Governor Evers immediately said he would veto it,” Vos said. “Legislative Republicans have continued to say we’re willing to discuss and find consensus. Instead, Governor Evers issues an ultimatum of no negotiating.”
The governor’s legislation is surely dead at the Capitol. Republicans control the legislature and are unwilling to go back to the state’s pre-Roe law.
The top Republican in the Wisconsin Senate, Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, is even unwilling to call the Republican-backed exemptions legislation for a vote.
Instead, Gov. Evers and Democrats in the state continue their efforts to overturn the state’s abortion law through the courts.
Next month’s election for state Supreme Court will determine if that can happen.