The anticipation is over. Nationally and in Wisconsin, we are turning a page on the abortion issue. All you have to do is read the last few lines on the first page of the two-hundred-plus page opinion to know the essence of what the US Supreme Court decided: “Held: The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the people and their elected representatives.”
Those are powerful, long-awaited words—and we praise God for His goodness and grace to us in giving us this decision.
To clarify, overruling Roe and the 1992 Casey decision that affirmed a woman’s so-called “right to an abortion” means that each state now must deal with the issue as was the case before the Supreme Court concocted a “right” to abortion in 1973.
Wisconsin is one of a dozen states that has a pre‑Roe law on the books. Ours dates back to 1849, one year after we became a state. This law criminalizes most abortions in our state, with one exception—the “life of the mother,” which isn’t clearly defined in the law. For many years, pro-life citizens and organizations have worked hard to keep this law on the books for this exact time.
Nothing prevents this law from right now being enforceable. Apparently, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin also believes that because within hours of the decision being released last Friday, the state’s largest abortion provider quit doing abortions at its three abortion-providing facilities.
But nothing about this issue is simple, largely because of entrenched worldviews and political aspirations. Months ago, Democrat Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul announced he would not enforce the law if Roe were overturned. In recent days, he’s reiterated that position.
Additionally, a number of county district attorneys have said they won’t bring changes against someone who violates the law. And over the weekend, Governor Tony Evers announced that he will give clemency to any doctor charged with breaking the 173-year-old law, which means, in essence, he’s pardoning criminals in advance of their being sentenced.
In addition to all this, Governor Evers (D) asked, and Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) was happy to comply, that a lawsuit be filed challenging the enforceability of the law. Obviously, enforcement of this abortion ban isn’t a slam-dunk.
Further, the left is going to use the overturning of Roe to energize their base for this fall’s election. They want to keep Evers as governor and Kaul as AG and flip both the Assembly and Senate from Republican majorities to Democrat. If that happens, the 1849 abortion ban will be gone by late January.
For years, Democrats in the state legislature have been introducing bills to get rid of every abortion regulation we have—24-hour waiting period, woman’s right to know, 20-week abortion ban, ultrasound requirement, telemedicine ban and more. The surest way to have abortion on demand in our state is a sweeping liberal victory in November. The money was already coming in to accomplish that prior to the Dobbs decision. As wonderful as that decision is, it added fuel to the liberals’ zeal.
The foregoing doesn’t have to happen. We can remain a state where human life is protected. It will take commitment and work.
We need to foster a culture of life by practicing radical love and compassion toward expecting mothers who are in difficult situations. Churches and their members need to offer help and hope to abortion-vulnerable women and men by donating to crisis pregnancy centers, giving directly to mothers in need, or simply walking with those who are hurting.
We must also speak the truth in love about the unborn. Debates surrounding this issue will become more intense, and pro-lifers need to be equipped with the facts and prepared to defend the sanctity of life at all times.
Lastly, the surest way to keep the pro-life momentum going in Wisconsin is by electing the right leaders this fall. We have an opportunity to ensure that Christ-centered representatives lead our state in the right direction and protect life by voting in this year’s upcoming election and encouraging like-minded people to join us.
We’ve been given a gift; now we must protect it.