Madison backs not prosecuting 1849 abortion law; Dane Co. Sheriff to follow AG’s lead
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Following the overturn of Roe v. Wade that allows states to determine the legality of abortion, Wisconsin could return to its 1849 law banning the procedure post 20 weeks gestation.
Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway tweeted that she and Common Council will back the Madison Police Dept. if it does not arrest people for violating the pre-Civil War statue. She noted that the council Tuesday night passed a resolution - expecting this decision to come - that declares the city has other priorities when it comes to crime and will not be prioritizing investigations related to abortion.
When it comes to law enforcement, Dane Co. Sheriff Kalvin Barrett said they have a constitutional obligation to do so no matter their personal beliefs. Barrett pointed to limited resources at the sheriff’s office currently and said his primary concern is “deterring and solving violent crimes in our Dane County community.”
“The Dane County Sheriff’s Office does not have the resources nor expertise to investigate medical professionals conducting medical procedures in medical facilities,” Barrett said.
Barrett also asked community members that if they plan to protest the decision, to do it peacefully.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said in his reaction to the decision “,We must now turn to Congress, state courts, and state legislatures. Our office is reviewing today’s decision and will be providing further information about how we intend to move forward next week. We are at a crossroads for the future of reproductive freedom, and we need elected officials to step up and protect access to safe and legal abortion.”
There are two Planned Parenthoods in Madison and Sheboygan that offer abortion services, however they are currently temporarily suspended following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. These services will continue to be suspended until Wisconsin receives clarifications from a court about this 1849 law becoming enforceable.
These agencies will continue to provide its other services, including helping patients find safe access to abortion care where it is legal.
“We have already been in discussion with our District Attorney’s Office about this and believe it will be something that we continue to discuss in the next few days as we try to determine the impact for us in Sheboygan County,” Sheboygan Co. Sheriff Cory Roeseler said.
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