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Wis. Attorney General Kaul petitions Wis. Supreme Court to take abortion case

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//February 27, 2024//

Wisconsin Abortion

Attorney General Josh Kaul staff photo: Steve Schuster

Wis. Attorney General Kaul petitions Wis. Supreme Court to take abortion case

By: Steve Schuster, [email protected]//February 27, 2024//

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Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul filed a supplemental petition Tuesday asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to take jurisdiction of Kaul, et al. v. Urmanski, et al., the case in which the Dane County Circuit Court ruled that Wis. Stat. § 940.04 does not criminalize abortion.

According to a copy of the petition obtained by the Wisconsin Law Journal, Kaul has requested the Wisconsin Supreme Court bypass the Court of Appeals, in order to have a final and definitive ruling on the enforceability of Wis. Stat. § 940.04.

“This case is about protecting Wisconsinites’ freedom. The sooner we can obtain certainty about the state of Wisconsin law, the better,” said Kaul.

“In addition to continuing to argue that Wisconsin law does not impose a near-total ban on abortions, we are asking the court to address the constitutional dimensions of the rights at stake,” Kaul noted.

“The Wisconsin Constitution includes clear commitments to securing liberty and equal protection under the law. A ruling that constitutional protection for reproductive freedom follows from those commitments would provide greater clarity to Wisconsinites about the rights they can count on in an area of the law that has been rife with uncertainty since Roe was overruled,” Kaul added.

The petition further argues that Wisconsin women and medical professionals have experienced the ramifications caused by confusion over whether Wisconsin has a law that may be enforced to prohibit any abortion unless necessary to save a pregnant woman’s life.

According to the petition, until 1982, the Wisconsin Constitution read that “all men are born equally free and independent with the enumerated inherent rights … the people of Wisconsin, however, then voted to amend our constitution to make clear that all people are born equally free and independent with those inherent rights.”

The petition further argues, “Bodily autonomy—the right of control over one’s body without government intrusion and freedom from governmental restraint over one’s own body—is the ‘core’ liberty right protected by substantive due process.”

All parties to the appeal have now filed petitions in support of bypass to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, according to Kaul.

As previously reported, a Republican prosecutor asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court last week to decide whether a 174-year-old state law bans abortion in the state without waiting for a ruling from a lower appellate court.

As previously reported by the Wisconsin Law Journal, historically, Republicans have been hands off with regulation on guns, the environment, and railway safety. When it comes to abortion why is that an exception?

Why should someone in Madison or Washington, D.C., be able to regulate such a personal decision for a woman?

The Wisconsin Law Journal asked those questions to losing Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice candidate Dan Kelly during a March, 2023 campaign event.

In response, Kelly punted.

Kelly said, “It’s a great question and I think there are some folks that you can ask about it who would probably give you a pretty good answer, but out of all the folks that might give you good answer, it doesn’t include me, you need to talk to some legislators about that.”

It would appear the legislator has been bypassed as the case could now be before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Also as previously reported by the Wisconsin Law Journal, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced in September that abortions in Milwaukee and Madison would resume.


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