The Dane County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution Thursday night to support the federal Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill circulating in the U.S. Senate.
Sup. Leland Pan, District 5, said the resolution passed through the Board’s Executive Committee with a vote of three to one and was later brought before the full county board, where it passed after a “strong majority” voted to support the measure.
Although the Supreme Court mandated no state can restrict women’s rights to safe and legal abortion, some states are trying to undermine this ruling, he said.
In a press conference Thursday morning, Mel Barnes, president of University of Wisconsin’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice, said each state has a right to place certain limits on accessibility of abortion care as long as it does not create significant obstacles for women seeking this treatment.
She said restricting access to abortion will not end this procedure, but rather it will cause the treatment to be less safe.
“Abortion is a vital part of comprehensive health care and always has been,” Barnes said. “Studies show us restricting access to this makes it less safe and historically the restrictions do not decrease the number of abortions but they do increase the number of abortions not done by doctors and outside of health care facilities.”
She said in states like Texas, safe and legal abortion procedures are less accessible. She said mothers in Texas cross the border to receive the treatment in Mexico therefore putting themselves and the child at risk.
However, not all county supervisors backed the resolution.
Sup. Dennis O’Loughlin, District 20, said he is in support of any motion to improve the health care of women, but he said as part of his religious beliefs, he does not support abortion unless in extenuating circumstances such as rape or incest.
Elle Ficken, president of the UW Medical Students for Choice organization said there are a variety of reasons women choose to receive an abortion, many of which are personal and difficult to speak about.
“This is not a decision taken lightly by anyone and regardless of how you feel you should know every case and every women is different,” Ficken said. “Each woman is an expert of her own life.”
Ficken said abortion continues to be a stigmatized procedure in society despite its commonality. She said one-third of women have an abortion by the age of 45.
Pro Life Wisconsin told a Herald reporter they did not have time to answer any questions on this topic.