By Alexandria Staubach
Leaders from a coalition of Wisconsin anti-abortion advocacy organizations are calling on Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm and Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne to prosecute abortions.
The activists held a press conference on Tuesday.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin resumed abortion services in Milwaukee and Dane counties on Sept. 18 after a 15-month hiatus. Services resumed following a July ruling from Dane County Circuit Court Judge Diane Schlipper.
Schlipper ruled in a case filed by Attorney General Josh Kaul seeking to repeal Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban. In denying a motion to dismiss by Sheboygan County District Attorney Joel Urmanski, Schlipper said the 1849 ban does not use the word “abortion” and therefore does not apply to medical abortions. Rather, the 1849 ban only prohibits attacks on women to terminate pregnancy.
No final ruling has been made in the case, nor has an injunction on the 1849 abortion ban been issued, causing some legal confusion. The case is ultimately expected to end up before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Representatives from Wisconsin Right to Life, Wisconsin Family Action and Pro-Life Wisconsin convened at the State Capitol to call out Chisholm and Ozanne for not bringing charges against Planned Parenthood one week and one day after services resumed. “Planned Parenthood is perpetrating this crime and they should be held accountable,” said Matt Sande, legislative and deputy state director for Pro-Life Wisconsin.
Although no one stated how or that they knew abortions were actively taking place at either Planned Parenthood facility, Dan Miller, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, said “sidewalk counselors” present at both the Dane County and Milwaukee County Planned Parenthood clinics observed approximately 10 women go in for services daily since the June 2022 Dobbs decision and that this number was up to 25 per day at both facilities after Planned Parenthood announced it would resume abortion services last week.
“If district attorneys pick and choose what law they enforce, where will that end," asked Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action. When asked whether non-enforcement was simply a matter of ordinary prosecutorial discretion, she responded “prosecutorial discretion usually is very quiet.”
All agreed they had not spoken with either district attorney.
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