By Samantha Crowley
MD Candidate – Class of 2025
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
As a medical student at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, I have committed to furthering my education so that I can provide my future patients with the best care possible. Through years of classroom and clinical training, I will, one day, be able to provide life-saving treatments to my patients.
Unfortunately, after a conservative majority on the Supreme Court ruled to overturn Roe v. Wade, one of those life-saving treatments – abortion – is no longer readily accessible in this state. As someone entering the medical profession, I must now face the grim reality that I could be thrown in jail for simply doing my job. I could be jailed for saving a person’s life.
Let me be clear: abortion is health care. And despite countless medical professionals across the country supporting that idea, a Wisconsin law passed in 1849 could mean that doctors in our state can no longer offer full, comprehensive health care. Abortion is a critical and necessary procedure that can save lives in medical emergencies. It can allow victims of rape or incest to reclaim control of their lives after an assault. Every person deserves to be able to decide for themselves if, when, and how to parent a child. Every person deserves the right to make their own medical decisions about their future – a decision that should be made by a patient and their doctor, not by any politician. Protecting access to abortion in our state is one of the ways we can ensure reproductive freedom for Wisconsinites.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, I reckoned with the harsh fact that countless people will now die because they do not have access to safe and legal abortion. At the same time, I watched Republican politicians celebrate the decision and spew dangerous anti-choice rhetoric. This was no surprise because, despite overwhelming public support for safe and legal abortion access, Republican politicians have attacked reproductive health care for years.
Wisconsin Republicans, in particular, have been unabashedly supportive of the state’s 1849 abortion ban – and top Republican politicians have been unwilling to even discuss allowing exceptions in the law for rape and incest. When given the chance to change course and restore this critical right to abortion, every Wisconsin Republican in Congress voted against the Women’s Health Protection Act and the Ensuring Access to Abortion Act, which would restore Roe v. Wade as law and protect people who must travel between states to receive abortions.
With these votes, Wisconsin Republicans have curtailed health care professionals’ ability to practice medicine in our state. This November, lives are on the line, and abortion is on the ballot. While Republican politicians launch a full-scale assault on reproductive rights, Wisconsin Democrats have stepped up to fight for access to health care. Governor Evers is committed to restoring abortion rights in our state and has offered clemency to doctors who are prosecuted for providing abortion care. Governor Evers’ partner in the judicial branch, Attorney General Kaul, has said he will not divert state resources from essential services in order to enforce the state’s abortion ban. Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin has led the legislation before the Senate to codify Roe into law, and Representatives Gwen Moore, Ron Kind and Mark Pocan have joined her in support of the bill in the House.
Our Democratic representatives stand with the nearly 60 percent of Wisconsinites who support safe and legal access to abortion in our state. Meanwhile, Republicans continually ignore the will of their constituents and the advice of medical professionals to push an anti-abortion political agenda. Republican leaders in Congress have even expressed support for a nationwide abortion ban, proving that GOP leaders will continue to stake out the most extreme MAGA positions on common-sense issues.
This November, Wisconsinites will cast votes that will determine the future of reproductive health care in both our state and country. We must elect pro-choice Mandela Barnes to the U.S. Senate and to re-elect Governor Evers and Attorney General Kaul.
The stakes have never been higher for reproductive freedom in our country. It is our responsibility to elect Democrats who will stand up against Republican attacks on our ability to make our own health care decisions and my ability to provide the best possible care to my future patients.