Wisconsin politicians announced their intent to promote abortion services and birth control access as critical health care with the “Abortion is Health Care Resolution” at a Monday press conference.
The joint resolution, LRB-1443, is co-sponsored by Sen. Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, Sen. LaTonya Johnson, D-Milwaukee, and Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison. The resolution affirms affordable abortion care as an essential component of a health care system that meets the needs of all its citizens.
The proposed resolution reinforces the Legislature’s commitment to providing affordable, accessible abortion care as an essential component of women’s health care in line with best medical practices.
The resolution comes in recognition of the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a U.S. Supreme Court decision guaranteeing access to abortion services. With this resolution, Wisconsin joins 15 other states with similar proposals, Larson said. He invited other politicians to co-sponsor the joint resolution.
Larson said the importance of Roe v. Wade could not be overstated, considering “without access to safe, legal abortion protections, women died.”
“Unfortunately, despite these vital steps forward so long ago, as well as the overwhelming public support for access to abortion, women’s reproductive freedom has encountered numerous barriers that undermine the significant progress we’ve made in safeguarding women’s health care and economic security,” Larson said.
Larson said they introduced the resolution because of “out-of-touch and reckless legislation,” and stated more than 300 laws that put women’s health and safety at risk had been passed across the country since 2010.
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Taylor described her recent experience supporting women’s rights in the Women’s March on Washington with hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life.
“It was really one of the most powerful experiences of my life,” Taylor said. “It made me think back to the first time I marched on Washington [D.C.] 28 years ago.”
Taylor said she made a return trip in 1989 to the nation’s capital to oppose people blocking the entrances to abortion facilities.
Taylor said some of the issues she faced then persist today.
“Since then, something that has been confirmed to me again and again is without this ability of women and families to make these most personal decisions about our health and our bodies and our minds, women won’t be free, and we won’t be able to live our dreams,” Taylor said.
The resolution states evidence shows women who have a wanted abortion have a more positive outlook on life, while those who’s access is denied have more negative health and economic experiences.
Sara Finger, founder and executive director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, said the organization’s vision is for every woman, at every age and every stage of life, to reach optimal health, safety and economic security.
“Since those in the majority, at both the federal level and in our own state, have adamantly restricted access to the proven tools to help women plan and space their pregnancies — we’re talking about common sense things like family planning, medically accurate, comprehensive sex education — in light of those restrictions, we continue to need abortions,” Finger said.
Finger said Wisconsin is joining the trend of passing laws harmful to women. She said she is increasingly frustrated by legislation based on “junk science and medically unnecessary restrictions.”
The resolution promotes this focus on science and women’s health, emphasizing three in 10 women will have an abortion, “one of the safest medical procedures” in the U.S., in their lifetime.
Finger said though the legislation may not get far, it is still worth promoting. She said other legislators, while “deep in the minority,” are challenging the conversation.
“We need to make sure the public knows that we don’t have to just accept what the majority in our state Legislature has been giving us, that they’re not representing the medical community or the public at this point,” Finger said.