Wisconsin Woman's Health Endangered By 173-Year Old Abortion Ban
Credit: unsplash.com
July 19, 2022

The Washington Post has a report about how the confusion of a post-Roe world is causing life-threatening delays in women's health care all over the nation, including this poor woman in Wisconsin:

And in Wisconsin, a woman bled for more than 10 days from an incomplete miscarriage after emergency room staff would not remove the fetal tissue amid a confusing legal landscape that has roiled obstetric care.

The blame for this falls squarely at the feet of the state's Republicans. Let me explain.

When the so-called Supreme Court overturned Roe, Wisconsin already had an abortion ban law in the books from 1849. Yes, you read that right. 18-freaking-49. And when the political activists in SCOTUS turned over a 50 year old precedent in women's health care, this 173 year old law went back into effect immediately.

The law classifies abortion as a Type H Felony, punishable by up to six years in prison. But it is only in regard to the care providers:

The 1849 statute would most directly target doctors who perform abortions, as the law punishes "any person, other than the mother, who intentionally destroys the life of an unborn child" with a Class H felony, which may result in up to a six-year prison sentence.

The most ominous part of the law is that there is nothing specifically banning women from self-induced abortions.

Governor Tony Evers could see what was coming and called for the legislature to go into special session to undo or at least modify the ban. He was on solid footing for doing this. One, as demonstrated in the most recent Marquette Poll, a vast majority of Wisconsinites wanted abortion rights in place and were against overturning Roe V Wade. Secondly, the law is 173 years old. There has been amazing advances in both our knowledge and care for women, including abortion care. The law on the book was all but unenforceable due to being so obsolete.

Supporters of abortion access also expressed concerns that existing statutes would leave doctors in a bind, alleging the current language of state abortion laws leaves much to be interpreted regarding what constitutes an act that "intentionally destroys the life of an unborn child."

In addition to calling on the Legislature to reverse the 1849 ban, Attorney General Josh Kaul issued a statement implying the state's current abortion legislation may prove difficult to logistically manage and enforce given shifts in medical practices in the nearly two centuries since the law was first enacted.

"There will also likely be widespread uncertainty about the state law as people try to decipher whether, and if so how, an archaic and long-dormant 19th-century law would apply to 21st-century medicine," Kaul said.

Sadly, the Republicans did what they usually do. They went against the wishes of their constituents to go on a fascist joy ride and power trip. The Republicans gaveled in and gaveled out of the Assembly in 25 seconds. The Republicans in the state senate did the same thing but only took 15 seconds.

It should be noted that this style of tantrum is the official modus operandi for Wisconsin Republicans. They did the same thing for expanding Medicare, police reform and gun control laws.

They must like the look of blood on their hands because they sure don't seem to be able to get enough.

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