The Wisconsin state legislature gaveled into a special session Tuesday for 15 seconds and then adjourned, preventing Democrats’ attempt to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the state’s abortion ban.
Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers pushed for the legislature to pass a constitutional amendment that would create a pathway for voters to reject the state’s 1849 abortion ban, WTMJ-TV Milwaukee reported. A constitutional amendment has to be approved in two consecutive sessions by the Legislature.
Republican Senate President Chris Kapenga presided with three Democrats present in the chamber, and the Republican-controlled Assembly was expected to do the same, the outlet reported.
Evers has repeatedly called for special sessions on several prominent issues that could potentially impact Democrats in the midterm elections, including gun control and Medicaid, the outlet reported. He called a session in June to repeal Wisconsin’s abortion ban, but the session did not occur.
Evers argued via Twitter the voters “deserve” to have a referendum and the ability to decide on abortion laws.
Voters deserve to have a say in Wisconsin’s abortion laws. So, I’m proposing to create a process for statewide referendums in our state through a constitutional amendment. It’s an opportunity to put important issues like abortion rights in the people’s hands.
— Tony Evers (@Tony4WI) October 4, 2022
Evers’ opponent, Republican Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels, voiced his support for the 1849 abortion law during the primary, the outlet reported. The law has no exceptions for rape or incest, though Michels said in September he would sign a bill providing exceptions for such instances. (RELATED: Wisconsin Doctor Buys Two Facilities In Illinois To Provide Abortions)
Republican Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson said he wanted the voters to decide on abortion through a statewide referendum, despite the state having no option for referendums on the ballot, the outlet reported.
“At what point does society have the responsibility to protect life?” Johnson said while giving a speech Tuesday at the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, according to the outlet. “We haven’t put the question to the people. That’s what we need to do.”
The state of Kansas held a similar referendum to add a pro-life amendment to the state constitution in early August. The voters rejected the amendment, which upheld the the state law allowing abortions up to 22 weeks.