Over 1,000 Madison residents gathered in downtown Madison Sunday in support of abortion rights on the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court Case decision of Roe v Wade.
The June 2022 Supreme Court Ruling of Dobbs v. Jackson overturned the nearly 50-year-long Roe v. Wade case which federally protected the right to an abortion. Now, the right to an abortion is up to each state.
In 1849, the Wisconsin State Legislature passed a law, now in effect, that established criminalized abortion, regardless of the circumstances and conditions of the pregnancy, according to the Wisconsin State Legislative Reference Bureau.
Abortion will be on the ballot in the April 2023 Wisconsin Supreme Court election. Wisconsinites will be able to vote on two Wisconsin Supreme Court seats, with four candidates currently running – progressives Everett Mitchell and Janet Protasiewicz and conservatives Jennifer Dorow and Dan Kelly. Mitchell’s campaign believes abortion will play a role in the future of the court.
“This is a real thing that affects people when they go to the doctor,” Mitchell’s campaign manager Sean Elliott said. “This is an incredibly consequential spring election, but that doesn’t always motivate people to show up.”
The Supreme Court was a 4-3 conservative majority until Republican Justice Patience Roggensack stepped down, creating a possibility for a Republican or Democrat majority, University of Wisconsin American Politics professor Howard Schweber said in an email statement to The Badger Herald.
Schweber said the most important factor in the coming election is turnout, which is usually low when there is not a presidential election to accompany the judicial election.
“Abortion is not by any means the only issue on the table — gerrymandering and voting laws are another obvious issue — but it is abortion that is likely to mobilize voters to a greater degree than is usual in off year judicial elections, so the question will be which side is more effective in getting its voters to the polls,” Schweber said.
If a Democratic jurist wins, the Court would flip, increasing the likelihood for abortion access in Wisconsin. If a Republican candidate wins, the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s abortion stance will likely remain the same, as both of the candidates are pro-life, Schweber said.
“Ultimately, whether or not young people show up will determine the outcome,” Elliott said. “And it’s important that they do.”
Numerous campus organizations have funded pregnancy clinics, led parenting classes, and donated baby supplies such as diapers and baby wipes to mothers who need them, which promotes support for women before, during, and after the pregnancy. UW also provides resources for pregnant students.
Students can find more information on how to vote in the coming election here.