January 21, 2013 by Rebecca Kemble
Last November Scott Walker avoided several direct questions about his support for Wisconsin Right to Life policy agenda with a statement about how his administration has turned the state budget around and added, “I think people want us to focus on creating more freedom and prosperity for people in the state.” At a press conference rolling out the 2012 Wisconsin Homeland Security Report, Walker artfully dodged this and all other questions not corresponding to his five point message on the budget.
However, behind closed doors on January 7, 2013, Walker signed a proclamation designating January 22, 2013, the 40th anniversary of the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision legalizing abortion “Protect Life Day.” In it he characterizes Roe vs. Wade as a decision, “which legalized abortion for any reason for the full nine months of pregnancy in all of the United States.”
Pulling quotes directly from Wisconsin Right to Life’s policy agenda, the proclamation says that, “55 million unborn children have expired nationally,” and that, “more than 540,000 of Wisconsin’s unborn children are lost to Wisconsin families, and their skills and talents are lost to the State of Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin Right to Life released a press statement late last Friday afternoon stating, “The original copy of the Protect Life Day Proclamation was sent to Wisconsin Right to Life by the Governor’s office and now hangs in the Wisconsin Right to Life State Office.” The Governor’s office has no publicly scheduled event to publicize Protect Life Day.
While Walker’s back alley deals with rightwing religious extremists are going unnoticed by the mainstream media, supporters of women’s rights and open government have taken notice.
Jenni Dye, Executive Director of NARAL Wisconsin said, “This is yet another reminder that despite the fact Walker says he’s going to be more moderate, he has an extreme agenda that he wants to hide from the Wisconsin people in order to gain reelection. We will not be fooled by that.”
Annie Laurie Gaylor, Co-President of the Freedom from Religion Foundation pointed out the lie memorialized in the proclamation. “Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the first trimester without restrictions; it limited regulation in the second trimester to protect the woman’s health and safety; and it gave the government the right to restrict or bar third trimester abortions.” She added, “Walker should retract and apologize to the citizens of Wisconsin for his shameful misstatement. Truth should matter, even to a fundamentalist.”
Noting that exit polling in Wisconsin last November indicated that a “significant majority believe abortion should be legal,” Jenni Dye observed that, “we have an entire generation of folks who have grown up without experiences that women had before Roe. Plenty of women have lost their lives when abortion was not provided in a safe and legal way.” Dye also expressed a hope that Governor Walker would, “move past the continued focus on divisive issues like abortion rights and address the issues that are facing everyday Wisconsinites right now: Jobs and the economy.”
[Thanks to Heather at Monologues of Dissent for the title of this article!]