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Milwaukee County passes abortion access resolution

By staff

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Milwaukee, WI – The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors passed a “Resolution on Abortion Access” on September 22. The resolution passed overwhelmingly with 12 yes votes and two no votes. The resolution was originally drafted by County Board Supervisors Liz Sumner and Shawn Rolland. Additionally, the grassroots organization Reproductive Justice Action – Milwaukee (RJA-M) demanded an amendment be added so lawmakers at the state capitol in Madison receive a clear message from Milwaukee County.

The amendment provided and strengthened the original language explaining, first, that the United States has the worst rate of maternal death rates among advanced economies, and three times higher for Black people; second, that abortion is needed to save lives during ectopic pregnancies when embryos grow outside the uterus, during certain miscarriages, or placental retention after childbirth; third, it spoke in opposition to total abortion bans that deny medical treatment, and finally it declared the intention to “Bring Wisconsin in line with the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act of 1986.”

Since the formation of RJA-M, in June 2022, the organization has been working tirelessly to demand that Milwaukee County become a safe haven for abortion access. The group started with a petition to the county board that called for, “Law enforcement refuse to prosecute, and to dismiss all charges against medical providers performing abortion services in the County of Milwaukee. No law enforcement within the county shall apprehend any provider for serving their patients in need of reproductive care. Residents within Milwaukee County shall continue to have access to necessary treatment, medication, and contraceptive options in coordination with their medical provider.”

The organization has gained about 1000 signatures on the petition in three months.

RJA-M has led two marches demanding Milwaukee County become an abortion sanctuary. They also canvassed multiple neighborhoods gathering petition signatures and picketed outside the homes of County Board Supervisors Shawn Rolland and Patti Logsdon. There were many phone and email zaps targeting the other county board supervisors. The pickets and actions demanded the county board pass a resolution. This came in response to county supervisors refusing to place a non-binding advisory referendum on the November ballot, where voters could voice their opinion on abortion access.

Lauren Forbush, co-chair of RJA-M explained, “This is the first victory for the organizers with RJA-M, and a step in the right direction for reinstating access to safe and legal abortion services in Milwaukee County. Although this resolution does not have the power to change any legislation, this is only the beginning to a long and tireless fight for reproductive justice in Milwaukee County!”

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