Wisconsin is not a red state. But, the results of the recall election on Wednesday place it as an important swing state in the upcoming presidential election and force us to reflect on the policies Governor Scott Walker supported as a very red, very anti-choice leader.
After becoming the first governor to survive a recall vote, Walker said he would like to do away with the recall process as it exists now.
“I think recalls should be about misconduct in office and not just open-ended and that would change the process,” he said on MSNBC on Wednesday.
Let’s now recall why Walker remaining governor of Wisconsin is bad for women.
Signatures were collected for the recall originally because of Walker’s brutal approach to dealing with unions. He signed bills that required deep cuts to schools, stripped union workers of rights, mandated voter IDs and restricted women’s access to abortion services.
One measure mandates that a woman have an exam, during which the doctor “determines” whether or not the woman is being coerced into the procedure, before she can obtain an abortion. This mandate is another intentional obstacle for a woman who wants to access abortion care. Obstacles like these serve only one purpose: to chip away at Roe and diminish access. This restriction forces women to jump through an additional hoop, thus pushing her procedure back later in the pregnancy. It is not about the health or safety of the woman—it’s about restricting access, plain and simple.
Another measure stresses abstinence education and stipulates that teachers do not have to address contraception during sex education. Because a study done this year by the Guttmacher Institute determined that the teen pregnancy rate has gone down as a direct result of higher contraceptive use, it seems counterproductive to limit education about contraceptive use.
Walker also signed a measure that would disallow abortion coverage in insurance policies provided through a health insurance exchange.
In addition to making it harder for women to access reproductive healthcare, he also seems to want to make it harder for women to get fair pay. Walker signed a bill that repealed a law that helped women and marginalized groups challenge wage discrimination.
The recall election has been tearing apart an otherwise politically polite state. And, the results leave many disappointed and others relieved. But, in the pro-choice community we begrudgingly see another ant-choice politician holding onto a position of power and unwilling to compromise. Because, ultimately that’s what got Wisconsin voters riled up to begin with: Walker nixed compromise and wielded authority without much care for those who opposed his ideas. Now, the recall election’s results give him a sanction to continue that style of leadership that excludes, namely women.