Wisconsin Recall a Huge Pro-Abortion vs. Pro-Life Battle

State   |   Andrew Bair   |   May 9, 2012   |   7:38PM   |   Madison, WI

Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary sets the stage for the upcoming recall election in June. Democratic voters chose pro-abortion Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, as their candidate to go up against pro-life incumbent Gov. Scott Walker (R).

Barrett defeated fellow pro-abortion Democrat Kathleen Falk in a landslide despite initial predictions by political pundits for the race to be competitive. Falk lost Dane County by 31 points despite having represented the area as county executive. Falk’s defeat is a blow to pro-abortion EMILY’s List, which had offered her their endorsement in the race.

Barrett, who unsuccessfully ran for governor against Walker in 2010, will have a tough road ahead of him having lost to Walker by nearly 6 percentage points in 2010. Also working in Walker’s favor is the fact that his vote total in yesterday’s primary topped the totals for both Barrett and Falk combined. Walker generated the highest vote total for Wisconsin governor in a primary in 60 years.  Republicans took to the polls to support Walker almost in higher numbers than Democrats for all their candidates combined, even with the primary virtually uncontested.

In the recall primary, Walker earned 280,000 more votes than Mitt Romney, the winner of the April 3rd Wisconsin presidential primary. “The Democrats should worry about turnout in June. They should put the GOTV (“Get Out The Vote”) machine into full gear,” said political scientist Barry Burden of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Governor Scott Walker and Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch are both endorsed by the Wisconsin Right to Life PAC.

“Governor Walker’s deep belief in the sanctity of all human life is evident in the courageous actions he has taken to build a culture of life in Wisconsin. His concern for the most vulnerable members of the human family is reflected in the common sense and compassionate laws he has signed into law. Those initiatives will greatly benefit unborn children, women who are considering abortion and taxpayers of our state,” said WRTL PAC Director Susan Armacost.

By contrast, while serving as a member of Congress Tom Barrett opposed common sense legislation on abortion like the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars federal funding for abortion. Barrett reaffirmed his commitment to public funding of abortion at a candidate forum telling a Weekly Standard reporter he stands by his opposition to the Hyde Amendment.  Polling has repeatedly shown Americans by a wide margin oppose taxpayer funding of abortion.

Despite most pro-abortion groups staying on the sidelines during the Democratic primary, Barrett will certainly enjoy their support for the recall election against Gov. Walker. In his 2010 run, Barrett had the endorsement of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin. At the time, the group’s Executive Director Lisa Subeck said, “Tom Barrett supports a woman’s right to make health care decisions privately without interference from politicians or government. When it comes to women’s health, Barrett’s steadfast support for access to birth control, family planning, and the full range of women’s health services stands in stark contrast to the extreme views of his opponents.”

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin also supported Barrett in his bid for governor. The Wisconsin affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion provider strongly opposed Walker’s election saying, “Scott Walker, during his career in the state legislature, sponsored some of the most extreme anti-women’s health policies.”

Photo: Barrett with Cecile Richards

From the beginning, Planned Parenthood has supported the recall effort. “Governor Walker has led the attack against women and women’s access to health care and information,” said Tanya Atkinson, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin. “As a health care provider serving almost 80,000 Wisconsin women last year, most of whom are at or below the federal poverty limit, our patients cannot afford three more years of Governor Walker.”

While the initial purpose of the recall of Governor Walker from those on the Left centered on collective bargaining for unions, Democrats are admitting that labor issues are not motivating voters as they had hoped. Instead, liberals have sought to characterize Walker’s pro-life accomplishments as part of the supposed “GOP War on Women.”

“Collective bargaining is not moving people,” said Graeme Zielinski, a Democratic Party spokesman. Zielinski openly admits his party will have to broaden the scope of the recall election if they are to be victorious. The apparent strategy for the Democrats is to use the “War on Women” rhetoric in attempts to galvanize women voters. “The gender gap is something we can exploit,” says Zielinski.  The Barrett campaign released an ad attacking Governor Walker’s pro-life achievements, accusing him of waging a war against women.

Since Governor Walker took office in January 2011, the pro-life movement in Wisconsin has made monumental gains. Walker signed into law a state budget that included a provision to prohibit the UW Hospital Authority from being involved in performing abortions and from using taxpayer dollars to pay medical students to learn how to perform abortions. Walker steered Wisconsin Well Woman funds to local counties instead of Planned Parenthood.

Governor Walker also signed bills that allow Wisconsin to opt out of abortion funding under Obamacare, to protect pregnant women from coerced abortions and to prohibit RU486 chemical web cam abortions.

Walker’s pro-life achievements have earned him the praise of Wisconsin’s top pro-life groups and, contrary to the claims from abortion advocates, the support of many women. Just one example comes in the form of a letter to the editor in the Stevens Point Journal, entitled “Kudos to Governor Walker for pro-life record.” The author, Kathleen Sommers of Custer, Wisconsin, thanks Walker for standing up for women by signing the bill banning coerced abortions.

The June 5th recall election will have massive implications on the pro-life front. Governor Walker stands as one of the nation’s most supportive governors for the rights of our society’s most vulnerable. Tom Barrett would use taxpayer funds to destroy innocent unborn human lives. The contrast could not be starker and the stakes could not be higher.