Appeal Filed to Determine Legality of 1849 Law
MADISON, Wis. — Sheboygan County District Attorney Joel Urmanski, a Republican, has filed an appeal after a court ruled that an 1849 Wisconsin law does not ban abortions. This decision has reignited the debate on abortion in the state.
Case Likely to Reach Wisconsin Supreme Court
The appeal, filed on Tuesday, is anticipated to be decided by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Urmanski requested that the appeal be heard in the state’s Waukesha-based 2nd District Court of Appeals, where a majority of the judges are conservative.
If the ruling is appealed at the appellate court, the case would then be taken to the state Supreme Court. Notably, the Wisconsin Supreme Court currently holds a 4-3 liberal majority, with the most recently elected justice campaigning in support of abortion rights.
Background: Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June 2022 to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion, led Planned Parenthood to halt its abortion services in Wisconsin. This action was based on the state’s 1849 law, widely interpreted as banning the procedure.
Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul initiated a lawsuit to overturn the ban, naming Urmanski and prosecutors in Dane and Milwaukee counties as defendants. These counties housed Planned Parenthood clinics that offered abortions.
Court Ruling and Reopening of Clinics
In July, Dane County Circuit Judge Dianne Schlipper ruled that the 1849 ban does not explicitly mention “abortion” and only prohibits attacks on pregnant women. She issued the final order earlier this month, paving the way for the appeal.
Following the July ruling, Planned Parenthood reopened clinics in Madison and Milwaukee that provide abortion services. Additionally, a third clinic in Sheboygan is scheduled to reopen next week.
Prosecutors to Abide by Judge’s Ruling
All three district attorneys in the counties where the clinics are located, including Urmanski, have stated that they will adhere to the judge’s ruling while the case is ongoing. This ensures continuity in abortion services for the time being.