During the first week of May, I took direct action in Milwaukee by distributing Act 292 flyers at local laundromats. In all, I visited over half a dozen laundromats and distributed approximately 30 flyers in high-population neighborhoods in order to spread information about Wisconsin’s Unborn Child Protection Act (Act 292).
Act 292, which is referred to by some as the “cocaine mom law,” allows the state of Wisconsin to accuse certain pregnant people of “unborn child abuse.” Act 292 allows Wisconsin to take certain pregnant people into custody, assign a lawyer to the embryo or fetus but no lawyer for the pregnant person including during important early stages of the proceeding, and lock the person up in a drug treatment program, psychiatric hospital, or even jail – regardless of whether drug treatment is really needed. The law was ruled unconstitutional but is still being enforced due to the actions of Governor Scott Walker (R) and former Attorney General Brad Schimel (R). Now that they no longer hold office, newly elected Governor Tony Evers has the power to stop enforcement of this callous policy.
I chose to take action in Milwaukee County because in 2016, it had the highest number of cases referred for investigation of alleged unborn child abuse through Act 292 out of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. I made sure to leave a stack of flyers at popular laundromats in each of Milwaukee’s most populated neighborhoods. The goal was to reach more Milwaukee residents that may be subjected to enforcement of Act 292. Each stack of flyers was strategically placed in visible and frequently visited areas within the laundromat, such as detergent dispensers, folding tables, and sometimes on community and news tack boards.
At its core, the #WIFights292 campaign aims to inform and educate people that are at risk for enforcement of Act 292. That’s why we take action in regularly visited high traffic areas such as laundromats. Substance use and substance use disorders affect all communities, and all people who may experience pregnancy in Wisconsin deserve to know about Act 292 and have access to resources. In distributing the informational flyer at locations around Milwaukee, we hope that those at risk for enforcement of Act 292 get the information they need and learn ways to protect their bodily autonomy.
Act 292 poses a threat to all Wisconsinites and harms our neighbors and communities. Reproaction will continue spread the word on Act 292 until Wisconsin’s new administration stops enforcing this dangerous law.
You don’t have to live in Wisconsin to join the movement to restore human rights and liberty for pregnant women in the Badger State. Visit our #WIFights292 campaign page here to learn more.