MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers today released a video statement ahead of the one-year anniversary of the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey and ruling the U.S. Constitution confers no right to an abortion. The decision upended the constitutional right to abortion that Wisconsinites and Americans relied upon for nearly 50 years.
A full transcript of the governor’s statement is available below. The statement is also available on YouTube here [or view below]:
One year ago, the Supreme Court overturned Roe, stripping Wisconsinites of the right to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions and turning the clock back 50 years on reproductive rights in Wisconsin and across our country.
Overnight, half the people in our state became second-class citizens with fewer rights than they had the day before and fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had before them—and that’s B.S.
It especially hits home here in the Badger State, where we have an archaic criminal abortion ban on the books that was passed before the Civil War and decades before women could even have the right to vote—an archaic law that bans nearly all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.
Even before the Supreme Court overturned Roe and each and every day since, I’ve been working to do the right thing to repeal this archaic law and restore the rights Wisconsin women had until June 24, 2022.
Unfortunately, Republicans in the Legislature have consistently refused to take action even as we’ve seen our state, our healthcare system, doctors, and Wisconsin women and families thrown into chaos and uncertainty.
I have always believed that the will of the people is the law of the land.
I’ve vetoed every bill that restricts reproductive rights that’s come to my desk, and I promise that I will always fight for your reproductive freedom in every way I can and with every power I have.
We are going to keep fighting like hell every day until Wisconsinites have the right to make their own healthcare decisions without interference from politicians who don’t know anything about their life, their family, their circumstances. Period.
Together, we will restore reproductive freedom in our state and make sure our kids and grandkids don’t grow up in a world where they have fewer rights than we did.
Keep up the good fight. I’m right there with you.
Gov. Evers and Democrats have been working to protect and defend reproductive freedom for Wisconsinites for the past four years, including in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs.
Prior to the Dobbs decision, Gov. Evers had joined legislative Democrats in calling on the Legislature to repeal Wisconsin’s archaic criminal abortion ban. When a draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion in Dobbs revealed the Supreme Court was poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, Gov. Evers called the Legislature into a special session to press legislative action to protect reproductive freedom. Only days after Republican legislators gaveled in and out of the special session in moments without any discussion or debate, and despite broad public concern about the topic, the U.S. Supreme Court released their decision in Dobbs, throwing reproductive healthcare access in Wisconsin into near-immediate chaos.
Then, last fall, after U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) erroneously suggested Wisconsin voters could challenge the state’s 1800s-era criminal abortion ban directly through a binding statewide referendum—something that is allowable in more than 20 other states but not permissible in Wisconsin—Gov. Evers again called the Legislature into a special session to create a pathway for Wisconsinites to directly challenge the state’s criminal abortion ban and repeal the archaic law. Republicans in the Legislature gaveled out of the special session without consideration or debate.
In March 2023, Gov. Evers joined State Sen. Kelda Roys (D-Madison) and State Rep. Lisa Subeck (D-Madison) to reintroduce legislation this legislative session to repeal Wisconsin’s 1849-era criminal abortion ban—a ban that was passed before the Civil War and before women had the right to vote and that prohibits nearly all abortions without exceptions for rape and incest. The bill, Assembly Bill 218, would cleanly repeal Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban, effectively reverting abortion access in Wisconsin to what it was on June 23, 2022, the day before the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs.
In January 2023, the governor and Democrats announced a new effort to put an advisory referendum on the April 2023 ballot, asking voters if Wisconsin should repeal the state’s criminal abortion ban and restore the constitutional rights guaranteed for nearly 50 years under Roe. In June 2022, just days after the U.S. Supreme Court released a decision in Dobbs, Gov. Evers filed a lawsuit challenging Wisconsin’s criminal abortion ban. The litigation effort is ongoing.
Over the course of the past four years, the governor has vetoed several bills passed by the Legislature, including several in the last biennium, that would have restricted access to abortion, inserted politics into the personal and private conversations between patients and their healthcare providers and made it harder for doctors to provide medically accurate information and treatment. Many of these bills also sought to limit healthcare options for people seeking basic, necessary care, such as pregnancy care, cancer screening and prevention, sexually transmitted disease screening and treatment, and wellness exams.