by Benjamin Yount
Planned Parenthood is looking to label the possible ballot question on abortion before voters in Wisconsin ever get to see it.
Planned Parenthood reacted to news Republican lawmakers are looking to vote early next year to add a statewide referendum on abortion to the April ballot.
“This attempt by legislative Republicans to strip rights and freedoms away from Wisconsinites does not change the legal status of abortion in Wisconsin,” Planned Parenthood said in a statement.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said this week the referendum would ask voters where the cut-off for abortion should be.
“I’d like to put something on the ballot in April that allows the people of Wisconsin to be the ones who get the final say on making a decision on abortion. So, it’s not the court. It’s not the Legislature. It’s not the governor. It’s going to be the people who get the final choice,” Vos said.
Wisconsin currently allows abortions up to 20 weeks, but only because a judge has ruled that the state’s pre-Roe abortion law doesn’t apply to “consensual abortions.”
Before that ruling, and after the Dobbs decision, Wisconsin essentially didn’t allow any abortions in the state.
That’s where Wisconsin’s pro-life Heal Without Harm Coalition wants to go back to.
“The Heal Without Harm Coalition has not seen what the proposed referendum language looks like. But the Coalition stands firm in its defense of the legitimacy of [Wisconsin’s pre-Roe abortion law] and it will oppose a referendum bill that cedes the lives of preborn children,” the group said. “Every human life is worthy of protection, from conception to natural death.”
Using a ballot question to settle Wisconsin’s abortion rules , Vos said, would put the issue “on the back burner.”
It would also bypass Gov. Tony Evers, who on Thursday again said he would not sign any new law to limit abortion in the state.
“The bottom line for me is this: Wisconsinites should be able to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions without interference from politicians who don’t know anything about their lives, their family, or their circumstances,” Evers said in a statement. “And I’ll veto any bill that makes reproductive health care any less accessible for Wisconsinites than it is right now.”
This is not the first time a Republican in Wisconsin has suggested allowing voters to make the decision on abortion.
Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson suggested a similar statewide referendum during his campaign last year.
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