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Anna Kleiber Restore Roe Abortion Presser
Wisconsin Democratic lawmakers presented legislation on Tuesday, March 21 at the State Capitol that would restore abortion rights to standards set before the U.S. Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade. If passed, the bill would protect abortions for any reason up to 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Dane County judge rules against Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban

In a Tuesday ruling, a Dane County Circuit judge ruled a Wisconsin 1849 feticide law does not apply to abortions, prompting Planned Parenthood to reinstate abortions in Sheboygan County.

A Dane County judge ruled Tuesday that an 1849 Wisconsin feticide law does not apply to abortions, a decision that prompted Planned Parenthood to reinstate abortion services in Sheboygan County. 

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Diane Schlipper ruled the 1849 law, often referred to as an “abortion ban,” permits consensual medical abortions and instead prohibits feticide. 

“This pre-Roe statute says nothing about abortion — there is no such thing as an ‘1849 Abortion Ban’ in Wisconsin,” Schlipper wrote in her July decision. “A physician who performs a consensual medical abortion commits a crime only ‘after the fetus or unborn child reaches viability.”

In response, Sheboygan County District Attorney Joel Urmanski defended the ban and vowed to appeal the decision in a confrontation that may come before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. 

“I disagree with and intend to appeal the decision,” Urmanski said Tuesday. “In my view, the statute plainly applies to abortions.”

Schlipper based her decision off a 1994 ruling that charged a man who beat his pregnant wife, causing her to deliver a stillborn baby under the 1849 law. 

“Anyone other than the mother who intentionally destroys the life of an unborn quick child may be imprisoned,” the ruling read. 

Urmanski noted that until the decision is appealed or reversed, he will be obligated to comply with it. 

Planned Parenthood moves forward, liberals rejoice 

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin resumed abortion services at Madison and Milwaukee clinics in September, citing Schippler’s ruling. 

Following this decision, Planned Parenthood announced they will resume providing abortion services in Sheboygan as soon as possible. 

“Today’s ruling is another important step forward in restoring and expanding access to abortion in Wisconsin,” said Michelle Velasquez, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin chief strategy officer. 

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Other political figures joined Velasquez in supporting the ruling. 

“This is a needed step toward restoring Wisconsin women’s right to control their bodies, families, and futures,” Sen. Tammy Baldwin said in a tweet. 

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan of Madison echoed Baldwin’s view in a tweet Tuesday, saying it is “way past time to get [the 1849 law] off the books.”

Attorney General Josh Kaul first filed a lawsuit to strike down the 1849 law after the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

“Freedom wins. Equality wins. Women’s Health wins,” Kaul said in a statement Tuesday. “This ruling is a momentous victory and we are prepared to defend it — and reproductive health across Wisconsin.”

Schippler’s ruling is the latest in a series of events hailed as victories by abortion rights advocates.  Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz’s April election came as a victory for abortion rights activists, who saw it as a new path to overturn the 1849 ban. 

Republicans are likely to appeal the ruling to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. 

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Annika Bereny

Annika Bereny is the Special Pages Editor for the Daily Cardinal and specializes in campus reporting. Follow her on Twitter at @annikabereny.

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