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Urmanski will appeal ruling that Wisconsin’s 1849 law does not ban abortion

by | Dec 8, 2023

By Dave Andrusko

True to his word, Sheboygan County District Attorney Joel Urmanski says he will appeal Dane County Circuit Judge Diane Schlipper’s ruling this week that an 1849 law does not prohibit abortion. In reaffirming her July findings, Judge Schlipper said the law only applies to someone who attacks a woman in an attempt to kill her unborn child –feticide –but doesn’t apply to what she described as a “consensual medical abortion.”

The law was reactivated—“triggered”—by the 2022 Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision which overturned Roe v. Wade.

“I am obligated to comply with that ruling unless the decision is stayed pending appeal or ultimately reversed,” Urmanski said in a statement. “To be clear, I disagree with and intend to appeal the decision.”

After she handed down her July 7th decision, Urmanski filed a motion asking Judge Schlipper to reconsider her ruling. “She refused in a 14-page opinion issued Tuesday, writing that Urmanski failed to show how she misapplied state law or made any other mistake and declared that the plaintiffs had won the suit,” according to the Associated Press.

In it she wrote

This Court recently determined that there is no such thing as an “1849 Abortion Ban” in Wisconsin. Specifically, this Court held that Wis. Stat. § 940.04 does not apply to consensual abortions, but to feticide, consistent with the Wisconsin Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Black, 188 Wis. 2d 639, 526 N.W.2d 132 (1994).

Judge Schlipper’s finding “didn’t formally end the lawsuit but Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin was confident enough in the ruling to resume abortion procedures at their Madison and Milwaukee clinics in September,” The Associated Press reported.

Background

Just days after the United States Supreme Court issued its Dobbs decision, Wisconsin’s pro-abortion Attorney General, Josh Kaul, filed a lawsuit against the President of the Wisconsin State Senate, the Majority Leader of the Wisconsin State Senate, and the Speaker of the Wisconsin State Assembly.

“Attorney General Kaul argued that there are conflicting criminal laws on the issue of abortion, the defendants are correct as they are officers of the state, and the venue location is correct as the seat of government is in Dane County,” according to Heather Weininger, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life, and Gracie Skogman, Legislative & PAC Director of Wisconsin Right to Life.

“While Dane County does house the state capitol, it also housed an abortion facility and is well-known for its liberal leanings, including county circuit court judges. After the three original defendants sought to have the lawsuit dismissed based on the fact they were not the correct defendants, Kaul wasted little time in seeking to amend the lawsuit and find new defendants.

“The current defendants are the county district attorneys where abortion clinics had been practicing prior to the Dobbs decision. Two of the named defendants, Chisholm and Ozanne, stated they would not enforce the law even before they were added as defendants. The only named defendant to argue against dismissal for the sake of allowing district attorneys to do their jobs without interference is Sheboygan County District Attorney Joel Urmanski.”

In July, “Schlipper allowed the case to proceed when she denied a motion from Urmanksi to have the case dismissed,” Fox News’s Todd Richmond reported.

Quoting from the holdings in an unrelated 2022 case on Monday, Judge Schlipper concluded

In sum, Urmanski fails to make any “heightened showing of wholesale disregard, misapplication, or failure to recognize controlling precedent.” Accordingly, the Court denies Urmanski’s motion for reconsideration.

Planned Parenthood reacts quickly

Weininger and Skogman went on to explain that “Shortly after Judge Schlipper signaled that she would rule this way earlier this summer, Planned Parenthood facilities in Milwaukee and Madison began scheduling abortion appointments almost immediately. Now that the ruling is official, they have stated their desire to “resume abortion services at [their] Sheboygan health center as soon as possible.’”

“Over 30,000 lives have been saved nationwide since Roe v. Wade was overturned, and more women than ever are turning to pregnancy help centers for support throughout their pregnancies and beyond,” Skogman said. “Abortion providers offer nothing but death for preborn children and hopelessness to the women they claim to serve.”

Categories: Judicial