In contrast, Protasiewicz has garnered endorsements from numerous top Democrats in Wisconsin, as well as from pro-abortion groups such as NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and EMILY’s List. Protasiewicz currently is a judge for Branch 24 of the Milwaukee County Circuit Court in Wisconsin, having been elected to that court in 2014.
Protasiewicz has also won the endorsement of Hillary Clinton. Kelly was endorsed by former president Donald Trump in his 2020 campaign, which he lost — he has not sought Trump’s endorsement in the present race.
What have the candidates said lately?
The candidates engaged in a spirited debate March 21. During that debate, Protasiewicz pledged to recuse herself from any cases involving the Democratic Party due to the large number of donations she has received from them. She said she has been “very clear about [her] values” during the campaign, but insisted she has made “no promises” to pro-abortion groups such as Planned Parenthood and EMILY’s List.
“My personal opinion is that [it] should be the woman’s right to make the reproductive health decisions, period,” she said during the debate.
Kelly said during the debate that he is not accepting any funds from the state Republican Party. He said his numerous endorsements from pro-life groups came about after having conversations with them about his pledge to uphold the Constitution, not because of any promise to keep the abortion ban in place.
Following the debate, Wisconsin Right to Life took issue with Protasiewicz’s characterization of Kelly as a candidate who has “pledged” to uphold pro-life values, saying that the group’s endorsement of Kelly is “based on his judicial philosophy and not based on pledges to uphold any law or policy position.”
What has the Catholic Church in Wisconsin said?
In a Feb. 14 newsletter, the Wisconsin Catholic Conference noted the upcoming 2023 spring primary election and reminded voters that as Catholics, “we are called to form our consciences in light of Church teaching.”
“Human reason tells us that the right to life is the first and fundamental right. Without life, none of our basic human rights — such as food, shelter, liberty — can be exercised,” the conference said in the newsletter.
“In addition, our Catholic faith holds that every human being, at every stage of life, is made in the image and likeness of God. When we encounter one another, we should do so with the understanding that we are encountering someone of transcendent worth, who like us is deserving of respect and protection from conception to natural death.”
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In a March 15 statement, the conference urged Wisconsin legislators to oppose legislation that would create an exception in Wisconsin’s statute that would permit children conceived in rape and incest to be killed and expand abortion access in cases of fetal abnormality or risk to the mother.
Jonah McKeown is a staff writer and podcast producer for Catholic News Agency. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has worked as a writer, as a producer for public radio, and as a videographer. He is based in St. Louis.