Tony Evers, the Democratic governor of Wisconsin, called on Tuesday for the state Legislature to initiate a referendum on the state's 1849 abortion ban, according to a press release.
The special session sought is planned to be held on Oct. 4 and is an attempt to create another hurdle for fully implementing Wisconsin's old statewide abortion prohibition, temporarily inactive during the near 50-year Roe v. Wade precedent.
"Today, I'm calling the Legislature into special session to create a pathway for Wisconsinites to be able to repeal our 1849-era criminal abortion ban and to ensure women across our state will go back to having the same rights now that they did the day before the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade without having to wait for the courts," Evers wrote.
"As far as I'm concerned, the right of Wisconsinites to make their own reproductive health care decisions without interference from politicians is a fundamental freedom that shouldn't have to be put to a vote — it was a right for nearly 50 years, it was a right until June 23rd and it should still be a right today," he added.
The law in question restricts all abortion until birth except in cases where the mother's life is in danger. Evers and state Attorney General Josh Kaul, also a Democrat, have attempted to prevent it from retaking effect legally. Still, a statewide vote could ensure that the law would be void even if they are unsuccessful.
As outlined by Evers, his proposal to the Legislature is not a direct repeal of the 1849 law. The plan is far broader, attempting to enact a constitutional amendment allowing residents to petition for votes on any current laws.
Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and state Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu, both Republicans, condemned the proposal by Evers as an attempt to implement pro-abortion policies.
"Gov. Evers would rather push his agenda to have abortion available until birth than talk about his failure to address rising crime and runaway inflation caused by his liberal [Washington,] D.C. allies," the two stated jointly. "Hopefully, voters see through his desperate political stunt."
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