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A Roe of Our Own
A Roe of Our Own is a campaign to ensure that no matter what happens to Roe v. Wade, Wisconsin women's right to a safe, legal abortion will be protected. This campaign will ensure that Wisconsin is prepared if the right to choose is threatened by a weakening of Roe or further federal encroachments. A Roe of Our Own will take the principles underlying Roe v. Wade and put them squarely into Wisconsin law, ensuring that every individual has a fundamental right to privacy with respect to personal medical decisions. Our vision is of a state where all women have the necessary resources to make private, personal medical decisions without interference from the government or politicians.
In 2007– for the first time ever – the US Supreme Court upheld a ban on a safe medical procedure. The Federal Abortion ban criminalizes abortions considered safest for some women with particular high-risk medical conditions, even when a woman's health is threatened.
In a 5-4 decision, with President Bush's two new anti-choice Justices siding against women's health, the Court threw out years of precedent and declared that abortion bans can ignore women's health. The anti-choice majority Bush created on the Court persists and this signals a dangerous imbalance that could undermine or allow the overturning ofRoe v. Wade at any time.
Wisconsin's Criminal Abortion Ban
Wisconsin has an antiquated abortion ban from the mid-1800's still on its books that carries a penalty of up to 15 years in jail (and up to $50,000 in fines) for doctors who provide abortions and up to 3.5 years in jail (and up to $10,000 in fines) for women who have an abortion or attempt to perform an abortion on themselves. There is no exception for cases of rape or incest or pregnancies that risk the health of the woman.
Although Wisconsin's Criminal Abortion Ban is unenforceable right now because of Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court has signaled its willingness to dismantle Roe's protections for women. That means, in Wisconsin, the Criminal Abortion Ban will immediately go back into effect, and abortion will once again become a crime in our state.
What if abortion became illegal in Wisconsin?
Abortion will become less safe. Doctors will fear criminal penalties and refuse to provide abortions, forcing women to seek unsafe, illegal abortions. No doctor should be asked to face 15 years in prison and a $50,000 fine for providing abortion care to a woman. If good doctors aren't there for women, who will be?
Women will be treated like criminals. Outlawing abortion won't stop abortions; it will just make them extremely dangerous. In fact, there is no relationship between a country's abortion rate and whether abortion is legal or illegal – the only difference is that women die where abortion is illegal. A woman who seeks one will be treated like a criminal and forced into a dangerous back-alley abortion.
Women won't seek medical help if complications arise from their illegal abortions. If a woman has an abortion and complications arise from the unsafe, illegal abortion, the woman will likely not seek medical help for fear of the authorities finding out and criminal action being taken against her.
Women could be threatened with prison. Wisconsin women who have an abortion or attempt to perform an abortion on themselves could be threatened with up to 3.5 years in prison and $10,000 in fines. Will prosecutors pry into women's private medical records, investigate miscarriages and threaten health care providers and family members to intimidate women?
Wisconsin Needs a Roe of Our Own
Wisconsin women can no longer depend on the Supreme Court to protect our right to a safe, legal abortion. We need a Roe of Our Own so that no matter what happens to Roe at the federal level, Wisconsin women are protected.
What Can I Do?
Sign the Roe of Our Own petition. Share this fact sheet with your friends and family and ask them to join you in signing the petition.