National abortion rights march descending on Madison next weekend
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Supporters of overturning Wisconsin’s near total ban on abortion will descend on the state’s capital next weekend. The National Women’s March on Madison is set for Sunday, Jan. 22, the 50th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision that enshrined a right to the procedure until being overturned last year.
Organizers specifically chose Wisconsin for their 2023 national march, dubbed Bigger Than Roe, because of the upcoming state Supreme Court elections. On the Women’s March website, they explained the event is aimed at convincing voters to oust the conservative majority leading the current high court and replace it with one that may overturn the 1849 law that went into effect immediately after Roe fell. That law prohibited all abortions in all cases, except in some instances where the mother’s life may be on the line.
“Right now, the Wisconsin Supreme Court has a 4-3 conservative majority,” organizers wrote. “If a pro-choice candidate wins this seat, we could overturn the abortion ban in Wisconsin.”
Activists are encouraged to gather around the Wisconsin State Capitol on the State Street steps on the day of the march, which is scheduled to begin at noon. At 1:30 p.m., a Speak-out is set inside the statehouse in the rotunda. The group states this is part of their effort to put pressure on every lawmaker across the country.
Next week’s march will not be Madison’s first since the U.S. Supreme Court rejected its 1973 ruling and subsequent decisions that enshrined and defined abortion rights. Even before last year’s verdict was handed down, abortion rights supporters, including Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, gathered at the same location following the unprecedented leak of a draft of the majority opinion, which foreshadowed the eventual decision.
On the day the ruling was officially announced advocates converged again on the statehouse to express their opposition to the end of a nationwide right to an abortion and a return to the states having full control of abortion law. In Wisconsin, that meant a return to the pre-Civil War law that was unenforceable for nearly a half-century but remained on the books.
It criminalizes doctors who perform abortions, making it a felony to destroy the life of an unborn child from the time of conception until its birth. It creates an exception for when two doctors agree that the mother’s life is in jeopardy but does not include carveouts for instances of rape or incest. Currently, Wisconsin also has a law, passed a little more than a decade after the Roe decision, banning abortions after 20 weeks ‘gestation.
In September, a March for Life rally at the state capitol drew hundreds of abortion opponents who argued their movement is meant to honor women and honor life. Participants also said they were looking to engage with people on the other side of the issue to discuss the reasons for their positions. The organization added that day that another event was already in the works for this coming June 24, the one-year anniversary of Roe being struck down.
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