No Right to Abortion in WI Constitution

No Right to Abortion in WI Constitution

No right to kill unborn babies in WI Constitution

2024 | Week of March 18 | Radio Transcript #1558

A right to abortion in our state constitution? Really? Since when, and if so, then where? Those are questions people all across Wisconsin are, or should be, asking given the recent lawsuits filed with our state Supreme Court.

Earlier this month, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin filed a petition directly to our state supreme court asking them, in their words, “to clarify” whether the Wisconsin constitution includes an inherent, unfettered right to abortion. They are asserting that “self-determination” is part of the inherent liberty right mentioned early on in our constitution, along with “the pursuit of happiness” and, of course, life.

This approach is a bit unique—asking the high court to opine on a constitutional matter that is not coming to them because of a state statute being involved. Planned Parenthood is working preemptively here—and the only reason they are doing so is because they believe this high court as it is currently comprised would give them a favorable ruling.

We know since August 1, when liberal Justice Janet Protaciewicz took her seat on the court, that the court now leans 4 to 3 liberal.  Adding to this is that Justice Protaciewicz repeatedly said during her campaign last year that she believed in women’s reproductive rights—a euphemism for abortion.

Beyond these current realities is the realization that next spring, one of the liberal justices, Ann Walsh Bradley is up for re-election, with former Attorney General Brad Schimel, a conservative, already having announced his candidacy to challenge Ann Walsh Bradley. The court could flip back to 4-3 conservative next year. The liberals are pulling out all the stops to ensure they get all they can while they know they have a liberal court in place.

But this isn’t the only case regarding our state constitution and abortion that is before our state supreme court. Attorney General Josh Kaul has, in a highly unusual and very questionable move, also asked the high court to deal with the question of a so-called “right” to abortion in our constitution. Kaul added this request to a brief in which he was urging the court to take up the lawsuit he initiated alleging our statutory pre-Roe abortion ban is unenforceable.

Adding such a constitutional matter to an existing lawsuit that has never been about the constitution at all, is unprecedented legally.

In the meantime, last week, Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and the Thomas More Society, on behalf of Wisconsin Family Action, Wisconsin Right to Life, and Pro-Life Wisconsin filed a brief with the state supreme court in the AG Kaul case, asking the court to allow them to intervene in the case.

One brief filed urges the court to refuse to allow the constitutional question to be added to Kaul’s lawsuit, noting that at no point in this dragged-out case has a constitutional issue been raised by either party and that it is improper to do so now.  A separate brief asks the court to allow these three statewide pro-life organizations to be added to the case so they can raise their objections both to the court accepting the constitutional question in Kaul’s case and, if the court does allow it, to be able to make unique and substantive arguments to support the reality that there is not now nor has there ever been a right to abortion in our constitution.

Obviously, these pro-life groups have a “personal stake” in this constitutional question regarding abortion. All three groups have spent decades supporting pro-life legislation, opposing pro-abortion legislation, and doing everything they can to build a culture of life in Wisconsin. The court should let them intervene. But that is not a slam-dunk by any means with this court that has time and again since August 1 shown that it is a rogue court run with a liberal political agenda front and center.

The straightforward answers to the questions I opened with are that there is no right to abortion in our state constitution now, nor has there ever been a so-called right to kill unborn babies in our state constitution. Our founders did not intend for that to be part of the inherent rights of liberty or the pursuit of happiness or even a concocted right to self-determination. But a court bent on using its power to make law and pander to a dangerous liberal agenda might well twist and contort the constitution to get what it wants. Tragically, we’ve seen it happen before.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council reminding you that God, through the Prophet Hosea, said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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