Lots of things have changed since 1849. People were still traveling by covered wagon. But one thing that hasn’t changed in the past 173 years is the law governing abortion in Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s strict anti-abortion law is still on the books, it just hasn’t been enforced since Roe vs. Wade became the law of the land. It appears that will change soon, leaving states to decide what laws should be in place to regulate abortion. If Wisconsin lawmakers take no action, the state’s 1849 law will be enforceable. Under that law, any woman who aborts a child would be subject to $10,000 in fines and six years in prison. There is an exemption for when the life of the mother is at stake, but not for cases of rape or incest. Governor Tony Evers is calling lawmakers back to Madison for a special session in a couple weeks. He wants them to debate and vote on what Wisconsin abortion laws should look like. Chances are they won’t. While the law requires lawmakers to gather for a special session when instructed by the Governor, they are not required to hold a vote or even conduct debate. If past history is a guide, lawmakers will begin their session, and immediately end it. It is shameful that our elected officials don’t have the courage to even hold a debate on such an important issue, even though polls show 60% of Wisconsin residents believe abortion should be legal. A lot has changed since 1849, and Wisconsin’s laws on abortion should change as well. We should at least be willing to have that debate.