NRL News

Wisconsin Supreme Court draft court order leaked in Planned Parenthood lawsuit

by | Jul 3, 2024

By Cassy Fiano-Chesser

A draft court order from the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreeing to hear a Planned Parenthood lawsuit has been leaked, and the chief justice is demanding answers.

Wisconsin Watch obtained the court order, saying the court will hear a case from Planned Parenthood, requesting that the Court declare abortion a constitutional right within the state. The petition was filed in February, and the abortion giant argued that the rights protected within the state constitution — “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” — include “the right to determine what one does with one’s own body, including whether and when to have a child.” It also asked for the constitution to include a right for doctors to commit abortions.

“Despite all the progress that’s been made to resume abortion care since the overturning of (Roe v. Wade), the protections afforded under Wisconsin’s Constitution remain unknown,” Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin president and CEO Tanya Atkinson told reporters. “Wisconsinites deserve the ability to make decisions that shape their future to make decisions about if or when they become a parent. And they deserve to know this right is protected by our state Constitution.”

Disturbingly, the draft order also denies pro-life groups the right to participate in the case beyond filing a brief.

“This is not a public order,” Chief Justice Annette Ziegler told Wisconsin Watch in a statement. “I am not in a position to release any further information.”

Ziegler added that she was furious over the order being leaked. “Today the entire court was shocked to learn that a confidential draft document was ostensibly leaked to the press,” she said. “I have contacted law enforcement to request that a full investigation be conducted. We are all united behind this investigation to identify the source of the apparent leak. The seven of us condemn this breach.”

George Stanley, CEO of the non-partisan Wisconsin Watch and former editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, said that what the statement didn’t contain is telling. “No one is saying there is anything inaccurate or untrue about the report. They’re surprised it was released to the public,” he said. “That’s our job — to let the public know what their government is up to.”

After Roe v. Wade was overturned, an 1849 law took effect in Wisconsin, which stated: Any person, other than the mother, who intentionally destroys the life of an unborn child is guilty of a Class H felony. Dane County Circuit Judge Diane Schlipper then ruled in December of 2023 that the statute refers to feticide — an act of homicide against a fetus committed by someone other than the child’s mother — but not abortion.

Sheboygan County District Attorney Joel Urmanski filed an appeal, and Planned Parenthood began seeking to make abortion a constitutional right, ensuring that abortion is available regardless of the status of the 1849 law.

Wisconsin Right to Life responded to the leaked draft order in a press release with statements from all three pro-life groups in the state.

“Radical pro-abortion providers are trying to bypass the legislative process and weaponize the court system to enshrine abortion access on demand,” Heather Weininger, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life, said. “They are putting the lives of Wisconsin’s most vulnerable at risk. We are very disappointed by this leaked decision.”

Daniel Degner, interim president of Wisconsin Family Action, added, “We are deeply disturbed by the report that the court will reject our opportunity to intervene in the case and represent the interest of life-affirming Wisconsinites. Quite plainly, the Wisconsin Constitution does not grant a right to abortion, and we will continue to present this fact to the court.”

Finally, Dan Miller, state director at Pro-Life Wisconsin, said, “Planned Parenthood’s insistence on looking to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to legislate from the bench by finding a ‘right’ to abortion in our State Constitution does not surprise us–they kill babies for a living! Their aim is to create a fundamental right to kill your baby up until birth. However, we live in a constitutional republic where the rule of law should be held to the highest standard. This circumvention of the legislative process is unconscionable. It should repulse every Wisconsinite.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.

Categories: Judicial