Abortion is legal throughout the United States because of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade. However, given the current political climate, misleading rhetoric, and the balance of the Supreme Court shifting drastically away from reproductive rights, Roe v. Wade is at risk to be overturned or gutted.

Wisconsin is one of 9 states with dangerously outdated laws on the books that criminalize abortion. Without the protections provided by Roe in place, Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion law1 that would criminalize doctors who perform abortions could be enforced, making them guilty of a felony. A provider could be prosecuted and punished with up to six years in prison for performing a safe, common health care procedure.

Anti-abortion politicians want to enforce this outdated, unjust law, threatening abortion rights and access for all women in Wisconsin. Around the country, state laws are already being misused by prosecutors to punish women for their reproductive health care decisions.

Abortion is health care, not a criminal act.

Support for abortion is at an all-time high, and according to Pew Research Center, a majority of Wisconsinites want abortion to be legal in all or most cases. But since Roe was decided, the Wisconsin legislature has enacted over a dozen new abortion restrictions, pushing access for this vital health care procedure out of reach for more and more women. The inflammatory, purposely misleading language of anti-abortion rhetoric is designed to perpetuate falsities about abortion care and is a part of a broader aim to make abortion illegal or entirely inaccessible.

The decision whether or not to continue a pregnancy should be between a woman and her doctor. It’s critical that Wisconsin reverse course and start protecting abortion rights and access, so that regardless of the Supreme Court’s future rulings on abortion, women in Wisconsin can be assured of their ability to access safe, affordable abortion care in their community without shame, pressure, or fear of punishment.

1 Wis. Stat. 940.04

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