SHEBOYGAN — A new court ruling has restored abortion access across Wisconsin. A judge in Dane County ruled a state law enacted back in 1849 is not a ban on abortions.
Leaders with Planned Parenthood say they will resume abortion services in Wisconsin as soon as possible. They say the services are already available in Milwaukee and Dane Counties.
Attorney General Josh Kaul Celebrated his win in Dane County Court, “In this case, freedom wins, quality wins, and women's health wins. This is a momentous victory.”
Pro-Life Wisconsin director Dan Miller says the fight is far from over, and he looks forward to seeing an appeal, “What we're looking for is a win for babies inside of the womb.”
Before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe versus Wade last year, abortion clinics operated in three of Wisconsin’s 72 Counties: Milwaukee, Dane and Sheboygan. When the high court sent the issue of abortion back to individual states, abortion opponents believed an 1849 state law made the practice in Wisconsin illegal. Sheboygan County District Attorney Joel Urmanski had vowed to prosecute under that law. Then Kaul filed suit.
“Women in Wisconsin became less safe, less free, and less equal when they lost access to safe legal abortion,” said Josh Kaul, Wisconsin Attorney General.
A Dane County judge sided with Kaul Tuesday. She ruled the 1849 law refers only to ‘feticide’ not abortion. Feticide is defined as “the act of killing a fetus by assaulting and battering the mother.”
Abortion opponents like Miller read it differently, “The state legislature's website right next to 940.04 it says abortion, so I mean it couldn't be more clear.”
Kaul says this ruling takes away fear in women, who even have planned pregnancies, “What should be a joyous occasion for expecting parents have, for some people has been a source of fear and concern — worrying about what would happen if an unexpected complication arose.”
While Miller, views the issue in starkly different terms, “I think of the slaughter of innocence.”
Sheboygan County’s District Attorney Joel Urmansky sent us a statement on the ruling, saying he’s obligated to comply for now. But he plans to appeal the decision.