Less than a year ago, Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion law went back into effect after the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The law not only bans abortion in nearly all cases except to save the life of the mother, but also threatens imprisonment to doctors and healthcare workers who perform abortions.
Immediately after the Supreme Court’s ruling, Attorney General Josh Kaul challenged the abortion law and that challenge will likely end up before the State’s Supreme Court.
On April 4, Wisconsin voters will choose between Judge Janet Protasiewicz and former State Justice Daniel Kelly to fill a vacant seat on the state’s highest court. The remaining six justices are split evenly on the question of abortion, so the newest member of the court will decide the future of abortion access in the state.
Protasiewicz, the Democratic-aligned candidate, has outwardly stated that she will defend a woman’s right to choose. In fact, in a debate earlier this year, she called the overturning of Roe v. Wade the worst U.S. Supreme Court decision, saying “women should be able to make their reproductive life decisions themselves.”
On the other side of the aisle, Kelly, the conservative in the race, has yet to explicitly state whether he would support the 1849 abortion law challenge. Although, he has written arguments that criticize abortion rights, and, in a 2012 blog post, he wrote that abortion is murder and that abortion’s “primary purpose was harming children.”
Additionally, Kelly has accepted endorsements from several pro-life organizations all of whom support near total bans on abortion and endorse like minded candidates. And Kelly, prior to joining the court in 2016, provided legal counsel to Wisconsin Right to Life, one of the groups supporting him.
On April 4, with abortion access on the line, Wisconsin voters will decide the next State Supreme Court Justice.