When laws are unjust, civil disobedience has proven to be the most effective response toward change. Just as people banded together in the 1960s and 1970s to protest laws that allowed for segregation, for the criminalization of LGBTQ people, and for the abuse of all women, the country faces a time when protest and other forms of civil disobedience are necessary.
Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne speaks out for the first time on whether he will enforce Wisconsin's abortion ban. He won't. pic.twitter.com/4W2YwRYjsc
— Scott Bauer (@sbauerAP) June 24, 2022
In Wisconsin, Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said in a statement published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel announcing his plans for civil disobedience: the office in charge of enforcing the law against women who seek abortions and the providers who offer them the healthcare they need is refusing to do so. Ozanne says that, as long as he is in office, he will continue to represent the women he was elected to represent who want the right to make their own healthcare decisions.
‘I have every intention of utilizing the power Dane County voters entrusted in me and will use my discretion to prosecute only those crimes that keep our community safe and represent our collective values. If the voters want a district attorney who prosecutes women for seeking an abortion or licensed providers who are acting in the best interest of their patients, they will need to elect someone else.’
Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett, who heads the office in charge of investigating and prosecuting women who seek abortions as well as abortion providers also said that any ban by the state would not be enforced by his police department, citing the impracticality of the idea.
‘The Dane County Sheriff’s Office does not have the resources nor expertise to investigate medical professionals conducting medical procedures in medical facilities.’
Wisconsin is one of a handful of states with some rather extreme laws against abortion on the books, although not enforced at this time. The state bans the procedure after just six weeks of pregnancy, although even conservative governors like Scott Walker have declined to enforce it in the past.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
‘Since 1996, women seeking abortions are required to participate in counseling and wait 24 hours before undergoing the procedure…Mississippi has asked the justices to overturn Roe. Such a ruling could result in dramatic changes in Wisconsin because the state has a 19th century law on the books that bans all abortions.’
Twitter had a lot to say about the statement by Wisconsin officials. Read some of their comments below: