WBA Debate Topic: Abortion

1. I’m going to ask a series of questions on abortion. Let’s start with the most general one. Here in Wisconsin since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, we are governed by an 1849 law that bans all abortions, except in the life of a mother. Polls say over 60% of Wisconsin residents opposed the overturning of Roe. Lt. Gov. Barnes, you have said you disagree with overturning Roe v. Wade. Sen. Johnson, one of your ideas is to allow citizens to vote at a state level – but just this week, the Wisconsin legislature gaveled in and gaveled out, rejecting the opportunity to allow such votes. So, let’s talk specifically about what you would do at the national level regarding abortion. 

2. We’re going to ask you some specifics regarding how the overturning of Roe impacts other areas of reproductive health. Some women have concerns, with a senate composed of three-quarters men making these decisions for them. What are your thoughts on when life begins, specifically as it relates to birth control, the morning-after pill, and additional embryos created through IVF or in vitro fertilization?

  • According to the latest Marquette University Law School Poll, 61 percent of Wisconsinites oppose the decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, while 30 percent favor that ruling and 10 percent say they don’t have an opinion. 
  • Ten years of Marquette University poll results on the abortion issue show that approximately six in 10 Wisconsinites backed legalized abortion in all cases or in most cases. 
  • In 2017, 6,360 abortions were provided in Wisconsin, though not all abortions that occurred in the state were provided to state residents, according to the Guttmacher Institute.  
  • NPR reports that at least 66 clinics across the country have stopped performing abortions since Roe v. Wade fell.  
  • Wisconsin is one of several states where voter registrations among women have surged since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June (Reuters)
  • Women have outpaced men in new registrations in Wisconsin by almost 10 percent, Reuters reported, citing an analysis by the Democratic data firm TargetSmart. 
  • Looking only at women nearing the end of their childbearing years, 9 percent report that they have ever personally undergone a fertility treatment or had a spouse or partner do so, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of National Center for Health Statistics data.
  • On August 3rd, president Joe Biden signed an executive order supporting patients traveling out of state for medical care, ensuring health care providers comply with federal non-discrimination law, and calling on congress to codify the right to abortion into federal law
  • Unlike other states, Wisconsin law does not allow voters or the Legislature to place referendums on the ballot (AP)
  • On October 4th, Sen. Johnson proposed a ballot measure with 10 possible answers regarding abortion, to allow residents to vote on. However, that is not possible within the Wisconsin law. Evers attempted to approve a constitutional amendment on October 4th, but that got rejected within seconds by Republican-controlled Legislature (AP)