Republicans Gavel in and Out of Special Session

By Mike Leischner

MADISON, WI (WSAU) — As expected Republican leaders in Madison failed to act on a special session called by Governor Tony Evers for a repeal of the state’s 170-year-old ban on most abortion procedures.

The move did not sit well with Democrats in either chamber, including Stevens Point’s Katrina Shankland who says she’s most disappointed that her colleagues on the Republican side didn’t even want to talk out the issue. “When we are called in for an important vote like this one on whether we should have Wisconsin’s 1849 criminal abortion ban on the books, I think we need to have a debate on it. I’m adamant that everyone in the Legislature needs to tell their constituents where they stand.

“I wonder if they didn’t want to take a vote because the majority of the people in Wisconsin support access to reproductive healthcare including abortion,” added Shankland. “Legislative Republicans need to answer do they genuinely believe doctors should be jailed for providing abortion?”

She says that includes for cases of rape and incest, which are not exempt from the law passed in 1849.

The move comes ahead of the expected release of a Supreme Court opinion that’s likely to strike down the landmark Roe versus Wade decision, which made abortion procedures legal nationwide and rendered Wisconsin’s law unenforceable.

Senate President Chris Kapenga released a statement shortly after his chamber adjourned saying “The United States Supreme Court has yet to issue their opinion, yet the Governor called a Special Session. This is nothing more than a calculated campaign move and the exact reason why the Legislature isn’t in session during campaign season. He’s not fooling anyone with this disingenuous political stunt.”

Shankland said she does feel there is some middle ground that the sides could find, but they have to come together first. “We need them to come to the table period. They didn’t show up.”

The Supreme Court has not released its final opinion on the matter as of Wednesday. The court is expected to do so by Friday.