Wisconsin's Gubernatorial Election Cannot Come Soon Enough for the Unborn

December 9, 2021

This past Friday, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers vetoed five pro-life bills that had aimed to protect unborn children and their mothers. This move came just two days after oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the case that could overturn Roe v. Wade and return the ability to restrict abortion to the states.

While the country anxiously awaits the Court’s decision in Dobbs, Tony Evers has once again shown himself to be pro-abortion. In his three years as governor, he has vetoed legislation to protect born-alive abortion survivors twice. Even a bill requiring that parents be given informational materials when their child (born or unborn) is diagnosed with a congenital disability could not survive Evers’ pen.

Evers announced the vetoes on Twitter: “I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again today, as long as I’m governor, I will veto any legislation that turns back the clock on reproductive rights in this state—and that’s a promise.”

Here are the bills that Evers vetoed:

  • SB 16 – This bill would have required that practitioners exercise professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life of infants who survive abortion, required that the infant be immediately transported to a nearby hospital, and imposed a criminal penalty against those who fail to comply (Evers vetoed a similar measure in 2019). (Click here for more information on Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Acts.)
  • SB 503 – This bill aimed to prevent Medicaid funds from going to abortion businesses by prohibiting the Department of Health Services from certifying such businesses. (Click here for more information on defunding abortion and abortion businesses in the states.)
  • SB 591 – This bill would have required that a woman planning to undergo a chemical abortion be informed of the possibility of reversing the effects of the first pill in the event she changes her mind. This bill would have also added to existing abortion reporting requirements by requiring abortion businesses to report the number of previous abortions each woman has had; whether the abortion was paid for by private health coverage, public assistance coverage, or self-pay; and the reason for the abortion.
  • SB 592 – This bill would have required physicians to provide certain educational resources to parents whose child (whether born or unborn) receives a positive test result for a congenital condition (e.g., Down syndrome). This would have included information on the congenital condition, possible outcomes of the condition, the child’s life expectancy, and supportive resources and organizations.
  • SB 593 – This bill would have prohibited an abortion sought solely on the basis of the unborn child’s race, sex, skin color, national origin, ancestry, or disability. It provided a civil penalty for those who fail to comply, indemnified the mother (i.e., absolved her of legal liability), and created a civil cause of action for any individual directly harmed by a violation (Evers vetoed a similar measure in 2019). (Click here for more information on Prenatal Nondiscrimination Acts.)

State Senator Julian Bradley, one of the primary sponsors of SB 593 (the bill prohibiting discriminatory abortions), released a statement saying, “Killing an unborn baby because of their race, sex or disability is not healthcare. This is a radical, pro-discrimination veto from Governor Tony Evers. Wisconsinites deserve to know life is valued whether they are a man or woman, white or black, or have a disability.”

Senator Chris Kapenga, one of the primary sponsors of SB 16 (the bill requiring that medical care be given to abortion survivors), tweeted, “the Gov’s track record makes it clear he doesn’t have a problem with discriminating against some of the most vulnerable women—the ones still in the womb...” Senator Kapenga went on to say that by vetoing the bills designed to allow women to make informed decisions, Governor Evers was clearly trying to “limit knowledge,” causing more women to choose abortion.

As Governor Evers is up for reelection in 2022, the people of Wisconsin should remember his track record regarding the unborn and vote accordingly.

For more information on pro-life laws in the states, see FRC’s pro-life maps.