Hundreds of students and community members gathered in front of the capitol Tuesday to protest a leaked draft majority opinion by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.  The draft was leaked by Politico on May 2 and was confirmed by Chief Justice Roberts on May 3. 

In Wisconsin, an 1849 law makes providing an abortion a felony, director of UW Collaborative for Reproductive Equity Jenny Higgins said. But experts are unsure if the law will be enforced if Roe is overturned, Higgins said. 

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“However, we know that if Roe is overturned, most if not all abortion clinics will no longer provide services, even if there is a chance they can do so legally,” Higgins said.  

While cases regarding abortion play out in court, abortion clinics will not risk providing an illegal abortion, Higgins said.

“Being denied access to abortion is not just about reproductive autonomy but its a threat to people health and wellbeing throughout the life course” Higgins said.

Women who need an abortion will have to travel to Illinois or Minnesota, Higgins said. This will hurt low-income communities the most, Higgins said. 

University of Wisconsin’s chapter of Planned Parenthood Generation Action has been preparing for the possibility of Roe being overturned since the initial court case was filed, president Maya Cherins said. 

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PPGA has collected resources in Wisconsin and nationally to prepare for the financial burden that will be placed upon Wisconsinites seeking an abortion, Cherins said.

“Anyone who’s been in abortion advocacy groups … [sees] that this is no surprise,” Cherins said.  

The protest was organized by Madison Socialist Alternative and Wisconsin Young Democratic Socialists, with the support of other organizations on campus and the Madison area, Madison Socialist Alternative organizer Will Fitzgerald said.

The protest organized in Madison was one of many held in major cities across the country May 3 in response to the draft opinion, Fitzgerald said. 

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“When we heard we immediately sprung into action, we had a plan and we decided to organize an emergency protest,” Fitzgerald said.

State Attorney General Josh Kaul said that he doesn’t plan to enforce the ban in a December 2021 interview. Kaul is running for reelection this fall.

Readers can find more information on the effects of overturning Roe v. Wade in Wisconsin on the CORE website.

This article was updated at 2:40 p.m. on May 9 to remove an inaccurate statement attributed to Higgins regarding how federal funding would impact what facilities could perform abortions.