I’ve been on the road with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul for the past few days, and Josh told a story at campaign stops that keeps me awake tonight – about what our state now, after -Roe deer. It’s something an OB-GYN told her.
Josh says the OB-GYN told her she was seeing relatives come for visits about planned pregnancies — visits that had previously been among the greatest joys of her job. The 20-week ultrasounds, where you count fingers and toes. If you are a parent, you remember those visits. I do.
Some parents come to these visits terrified. Because of what it could mean if there was a complication they weren’t expecting. Because they already have children at home. Because there are no exceptions in Wisconsin’s abortion ban, passed in 1849, for the health of the parent.
It’s not hypothetical. It is now. In Wisconsin, a woman who suffered a partial miscarriage was left to bleed for ten days because doctors believed if they intervened they could be prosecuted for a crime.
I know abortion is not leading the polls right now. But this is not just a political issue. It is a moral question. And all across northern Wisconsin for the past two days, I’ve seen rooms full of people gasp when they hear about what’s going on. We don’t want that.
I don’t know what will happen in four days. Three, I guess, because it’s past midnight now. But I know that Tony Evers and Josh Kaul and Mandela Barnes and Sara Rodriguez – literally a public health nurse running for lieutenant governor – know in their bones how scary this is.
And I know Tim Michels, who says the 1849 abortion ban is “an exact mirror of my position”, and Ron Johnson, who says women who don’t like the abortion ban “can move,” and GA candidate Eric Toney, who wants to allow ADs to cross county lines to prosecute abortions, they don’t.
When Governor Evers is on the stump, he talks about his seven granddaughters and how, overnight, they became second-class citizens. And you can hear the outrage in his voice. You can see why he and Attorney General Kaul are suing to overturn Wisconsin’s abortion ban.
You can see why he called the GOP-led Legislature to a special session to repeal the abortion ban, and when they refused, you can see why he called them to a special session to create a process of referendum in Wisconsin, so the people could vote to repeal it directly.
You can see why he is working around the clock, criss-crossing the state, to win this election. Why Mandela made 100 saves in the last 16 days of this race. Why Josh Kaul and Sarah Rodriguez are so relentless. Yes, contestants always want to win. But this is not just any election.
There is a note of urgency in this final stretch. The threat to democracy is also part of it. If Tim Michels and Ron Johnson win and rig the system so Republicans don’t lose, this could be our last chance to change this law, passed before women had the right to vote.
As I post this, we have 92 hours until the polls close in Wisconsin. Whatever else you are planning, I hope you will instead think about the possibility of it happening after the election is over. We need help. Even if you’ve never helped before.
That’s what our attorney general is talking about. People who find out they are pregnant and need to start thinking about what it might mean for the children they already have, risk losing a parent.