Representatives react to proposed bill suggesting exceptions to Wisconsin’s abortion ban

Incest and rape are issues for lawmakers
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 4:42 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Representatives on both sides react as Wisconsin Republicans push for exceptions to the state’s 1849 abortion ban.

A bill unveiled Wednesday would allow victims of rape or incest to legally end their pregnancy within 12 weeks.

As we first alerted you, the current ban makes it illegal for anyone to end a pregnancy... unless the mother’s life is at risk.

“I think we’ve all heard from our constituents some pretty heartbreaking cases of women that have fallen into this so I think it is important. I think a vast majority of Wisconsinites want exceptions in the case of rape and incest,” Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) said. “We’re doing our duty and going forward and proposing something here. It’s a contentious issue and hopefully there’s room for compromise.”

The bill also clarifies when abortions to protect a mother would be allowed. Some Democrats told Action 2 News, it’s not enough.

“We know that most people in Wisconsin want full rights for women, reproductive rights and overturning the abortion ban is just the way to do that,” Rep. Lee Snodgrass (D-Appleton) said. “We know in the state of Wisconsin people who can become pregnant do not have the same rights as the rest of the population so a full restoration of complete comprehensive reproductive healthcare is what needs to happen.”

Governor Tony Evers took to social media, tweeting:

The proposed bill comes less than a month to the Wisconsin Supreme Court election, as liberal Milwaukee Circuit Court Judge Janet Protasiewicz faces off against conservative former Supreme Court justice Daniel Kelly. People on both sides wonder whether this proposed abortion bill could impact the race.

“This should not be how we’re picking our Supreme Court. We should be picking people who want to follow the law,” Rep. Kitchens said.

Rep. Snodgrass argued, “What the Republicans have done is really introduce a bill that they think will get them over the finish line in April when really we know most Wisconsinites want a full repeal of that archaic criminal abortion ban of 1849.”

The next step? Listening to everyday people across Wisconsin.

“We’ll have public hearings in the Senate, the Assembly. It’s an opportunity... I hope people will come in and testify, tell us what they think,” Rep. Kitchens said.

“What’s your position on a reproductive access and abortion?” Rep. Snodgrass asked. She believes it’s important to tell your representatives what you think.