As we gather this Sunday (Jan. 22) in Wausau for our annual Women’s March, I can’t help but think of all that has changed since we last marched.
Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide and, as of last June, no longer stands. A conservative majority on the Supreme Court struck down this pivotal case, leaving millions of people in a state of limbo.
This year, we will march with fewer rights than we held in years past, but we are not without hope that we in Wisconsin can regain those rights again one day soon.
Other states around the country have voted on abortion referenda, and declared, decisively, that they want to protect abortion access in their states. In Wisconsin, we don’t have that option. Our hope to restore abortion access rests, for now, in the Supreme Court.
In its next term, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will likely hear a challenge to our state’s 1849 abortion ban — the ban Republicans argue has gone back into effect since Roe was struck down. There’s little doubt that a conservative Supreme Court majority will decide our state’s abortion ban still stands, but the ideological majority of the court is not yet out of reach.
If we can elect a progressive justice and flip the ideological majority on the court, we have a chance to build a Wisconsin that for once resembles what our state believes. The primary election for the Supreme Court is on Feb. 21. There are two candidates running, Everett Mitchell and Janet Protasiewicz, who opposed the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and are willing to stand on the side of the law and our constitution to restore abortion access in our state.
On the other hand, there are two candidates who supported the decision to overturn Roe and would rather decide cases in accordance with what special interests want rather than what the law requires.
Because this race is nonpartisan, the two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary election will advance to the general election. This is why it’s imperative that we get out and vote, either for Judge Mitchell or Judge Protasiewicz, this February so that one — or both! — of them can advance to the April 4 general election. Whether it’s Judge Protasiewicz or Mitchell who advances to the general election, either candidate will have my support.
This Sunday, I will march with my friends and family as a protest against the rights we’ve lost in the past year and in celebration of the resiliency of our community and our ongoing fight to restore abortion access in Wisconsin.
Nancy Stencil of Rib Mountain
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