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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Madison Rally for Our Rights shows local support of reproductive freedom

Rally emphasizes importance of primary election for future of reproductive rights
Cat Carroll

Madison residents and Wisconsin community members gathered on the steps of the state capitol building Sunday to protest for reproductive freedom at the Madison Rally for Our Rights.

The Madison rally was one stop on the Rally for Our Rights tour organized by Women Win Wisconsin PAC, established by now-Secretary of State Sarah Godlewski. 

The tour took place across the state ahead of the 2023 spring primary election, which includes the race for Wisconsin Supreme Court — a race critical in deciding the future of abortion rights in the state.


Conservative former Justice Daniel Kelly, who has been endorsed by anti-abortion groups such as Wisconsin Right to Life, and liberal Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz, who has been endorsed by pro-choice groups like Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List, are running for the seat.

Godlewski expressed her anger with the 2022 Dobbs v. Jackson Supreme Court ruling, which overturned Roe v. Wade and stripped federal protection to the right to an abortion, in her opening remarks at the rally. Following the decision, the right to an abortion was left to be determined by each individual state.

In Wisconsin, an 1849 law went into effect when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Under this statute, the provision of an abortion is criminalized regardless of the circumstances and conditions of the pregnancy. 

A lawsuit challenging the 1849 criminal abortion statute is likely to reach the state Supreme Court after the election.

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Godlewski, who introduced herself as “one pissed off Wisconsin woman,” said the winner of the race for state Supreme Court can determine future rules and regulations surrounding reproductive rights.

“What gives me hope is the Supreme Court election on Tuesday because we have the power to change this trajectory,” Godlewski said. “The balance of the Supreme Court and our rights lies with us and this election.”

Godlewski urged crowd members to vote in the election on Tuesday, as did the speakers who followed her, including University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health students Samantha Crowley and Laurie Lapp.

Crowley and Lapp, both of whom are working to be obstetrician-gynecologists, shared their frustrations with Wisconsin’s current ban on abortions.

“I want to be able to provide the best care possible to my future patients, including comprehensive access to abortion,” Crowley said. “Right now, in the state of Wisconsin, it is illegal for me to get the training in order to do so.”

According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin state law says state funds, like those allocated to UW Hospital, cannot go toward paying a doctor or a facility to perform abortions. Crowley said that the current ban on abortions has caused her to reconsider where she wants to train and practice medicine.

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Lapp echoed this sentiment, and said that she is determined to continue training to be a physician in Wisconsin, raising awareness for abortion as healthcare.

“I am a proud future abortion provider and I am proud to fight for our rights alongside people like you,” Lapp said.

Other physicians — who practice in both Wisconsin and Illinois — spoke on how the ban on abortion in Wisconsin impacts their practices. Collectively, they emphasized the importance of voting in the Tuesday election.

Students, union organizers, religious leaders, the Raging Grannies of Madison and Dane County and individuals also shared their stories — emphasizing the impact the current ban on abortion has on them.

The rally ended with Godlewski encouraging crowd members to walk to the nearest polling place with drag queens to cast their ballots in the critical election.

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