Protect abortion rights

Editor, Daily Union: Abortion rights are under siege — and we need to ensure that they’re protected.

This year alone, eight states have passed bans based on gestational age (often before the pregnancy has been detected), and Alabama has passed an outright ban. The appointment of anti-abortion Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, replacing the pro-choice swing voter Justice Anthony Kennedy, has spurred these draconian legislative efforts. Anti-abortion legislatures are rushing to pass as many restrictions as possible to overturn Roe v. Wade. The most likely scenario is that the Supreme Court would declare abortion a “states’ rights” issue.

Should this happen, Wisconsin’s statute criminalizing abortion, dating back to 1849, would go into immediate effect. Physicians who perform abortions could go to prison for up to six years. That’s why Wisconsin citizens need to demand that the Legislature repeal this 170-year-old law, by passing the Abortion Access Act introduced by Rep. Lisa Subeck and Sen. Fred Risser. And we need to take countermeasures on the national level. Congress must finally schedule a hearing on the Women’s Health Protection Act, sponsored by our Sen. Tammy Baldwin and about 240 others in Congress, which would pre-empt these archaic state laws.

There can be no liberty more primary than the right to control one’s own body, one’s own fertility, one’s own family size and, thereby, one’s own destiny. We in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the United States need to be marching in the streets, protesting in the state capitols and demanding that our state and federal representatives vote to protect the basic right to decide if and when to become a mother. — Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-administrator of the volunteer Women’s Medical Fund of Wisconsin, which served nearly 1,000 low-income Wisconsin residents last year, Madison.

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