Wisconsin Republicans Want to Close Abortion Clinics But Not In-Person Elections, Infecting Seven

Wisconsin Republicans Want to Close Abortion Clinics But Not In-Person Elections, Infecting Seven
In early April, Wisconsin Republicans attempted to close abortion clinics in the interest of public safety and health—yet, days later, allowed in-person voting centers (with long lines of people not even five feet away from each other) to remain open. Pictured: A voting line in Milwaukee on April 7, 2020 (Coburn Dukehart / Wisconsin Watch)

Seven people appear to have contracted the coronavirus through activities related to the April 7 election in Wisconsin, according to Milwaukee health officials.

The surprising and preventable cause of this infection: one of the five in-person voting locations open during the April 7 elections, where approximately 400,000 people voted in-person.

Six of the seven cases involve Milwaukee voters while one is associated with a Milwaukee poll worker—and advocates worry that these statistics could be just the “tip of the iceberg.”

While contracting coronavirus isn’t news as of late, the seven additional cases could have been easily avoided—if both the Wisconsin and U.S. Supreme Courts hadn’t issued stunning blows along party lines mandating that the state’s election would take place without delay. (Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers tried to postpone the primary election, like 15 other states and one territory opted for, but the courts blocked his request.)

And Republican hypocrisy continues to be on full display.

In early April, 31 Wisconsin Republicans sent a letter calling on the state’s top health official to close abortion clinics in the interest of public safety and health—yet, days later, allowed in-person voting centers (with long lines of people not even five feet away from each other) to remain open.

As Michelle Goldberg wrote in a New York Times opinion column:

In Hungary, “Viktor Orban used the pandemic to institute rule by decree. In Jordan and Thailand, leaders have used the pandemic as an excuse for cracking down on the press. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his allies have frozen the Knesset and shut down most courts, postponing Netanyahu’s own arraignment on corruption charges.”

“American autocrats are no less opportunist,” Goldberg writes, referencing Republican attempts to use the pandemic to further erode abortion rights.

Wisconsin Republicans Want to Close Abortion Clinics But Not In-Person Elections, Infecting Seven
A March 2014 Hobby Lobby picket in Madison, Wisconsin. (Joe Brusky)

Tanya Atkinson, CEO of Wisconsin Planned Parenthood, says Republicans put women at great risk by limiting abortion access. 

“Experts, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, agree that abortion is an essential, time-sensitive procedure that cannot be delayed,” Atkinson said. “Delays or additional barriers to care can make it less safe and more difficult or even impossible for patients to access the care they need.” 


The coronavirus pandemic and the response by federal, state and local authorities is fast-movingDuring this time, Ms. is keeping a focus on aspects of the crisis—especially as it impacts women and their families—often not reported by mainstream media. If you found this article helpful, please consider supporting our independent reporting and truth-telling for as little as $5 per month.

About

Ashley Lynn Priore—a social entrepreneur, writer, public servant and innovative speaker—is the founder, president and CEO of Queen's Gambit, a national nonprofit using chess as a catalyst for change. Ashley is the author of Let's Learn Chess! and is currently completing her undergraduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh.