Do not expect the Wisconsin Legislature to do much when they convene in Madison for a special session in the coming weeks.
Governor Tony Evers called for the special session earlier this week to discuss the state’s abortion law that could go into effect if the Roe vs. Wade decision is reversed. The controversial Supreme Court decision that will limit a woman’s ability to get an abortion was leaked to the press last month. If it is reversed, a law passed in 1849 would go into effect, banning most abortions, including those in cases of rape and incest. Governor Evers said he would “keep fighting every day to defend reproductive rights and access to abortion” as long as he is governor. One of his potential opponents this fall, former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, has called for Republicans to reject the special session, adding that Evers wants abortion without restriction.
Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu has already signaled that the special session will likely last just minutes like previous special sessions addressing gun control, Medicaid expansion, and policing. He called it “a blatantly political special session,” adding that “Wisconsin law has not changed, and our pro-life position has not changed.” Rep. Joel Kitchens also believes nothing will happen when the Wisconsin Legislature meets, echoing LeMahieu’s thoughts that the special session call is purely political. He does hope the discussion shines a light on his birth control bill, which would allow pharmacists to prescribe contraceptive patches and pills. It passed in the Assembly last fall but did not have the votes to make it through the Senate. Kitchens believes this would help prevent unplanned pregnancies and, in turn, limit abortions as well.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos voiced his support for potentially changing the law to make exceptions for rape and incest. Attorney General Josh Kaul, who is running for re-election this fall, said he would not enforce the ban even if local governments decide they will. The special session is scheduled for June 22nd.