In a classic “you’ve got to be kidding me” moment, Wisconsin found itself embroiled in a heated debate as a pro-life group decided to weigh in on the state’s workforce woes. According to a recent Politico report, Wisconsin’s political landscape seems to be swaying leftward, with pro-choice champion and liberal Milwaukee County Judge Janet Protasiewicz handily defeating conservative former State Supreme Court Justice Dan Kelly by a stunning 11 percentage points.
Yet, amidst this apparent shift, Matt Sande, Director of Legislation for Pro-Life Wisconsin, made an audacious claim during a hearing on Wednesday. Sande suggested that – hold onto your hats – contraception might be to blame for Wisconsin’s workforce gap.
Sande cited an article from the Wisconsin State Journal last year about the state’s unemployment rate, which quoted Scott Hodick of the Department of Workforce Development saying that the labor force might decline by 2035 due to the retirement of the baby boomer generation.
And then, Sande dropped this bombshell: “At a time when state government should be developing and promoting policies that incentivize natural population growth — which I know is a bipartisan concern — why would the bill authors attempt to do the opposite by pushing wide and easy access to contraceptives? Just something to think about.”
Needless to say, this suggestion didn’t sit well with everyone. State Rep. Lisa Subeck quickly clapped back at Sande’s claim, expressing her frank disbelief and disgust at his insinuation that personal decisions about family planning should be influenced by a workforce shortage.
Subeck responded, “First off, I find it incredibly offensive that you think that my decisions or anybody else’s decisions on whether or not to plan to engage in family planning should be determined based on whether or not we have a worker shortage. So I just find that part of your testimony incredibly offensive as a woman, and quite frankly as a human being.”
In a society where the fight for reproductive rights is far from over, it’s encouraging to see strong voices like Subeck’s standing up against such audacious claims. While the labor force may indeed face challenges in the future, implying that birth control is to blame is a leap that many would call, at the very least, a stretch. Here’s to hoping this dialog continues to evolve with respect and the acknowledgment of personal freedom in family planning decisions.