Wisconsin county board supervisor sits for pledge of allegiance to protest overturning of Roe v. Wade

Outagamie County Board member remained seated for pledge to support abortion access

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A member of a Wisconsin county board of supervisors said she refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance during Tuesday’s meeting to protest the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. 

Sara MacDonald, who represents District 15 on the Outagamie County Board of Supervisors, said she placed her hand on her heart but remained seated during the pledge of allegiance Tuesday.

"When women don't have equal rights, there isn't liberty for women," MacDonald told WGBA-TV after the meeting, explaining that if her daughter, who is severely disabled, ever were to get pregnant, "she would need an abortion."

She was the lone supervisor to remain seated during the board meeting in Appleton.  

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District 15 Outagamie County Board Supervisor Sara MacDonald. 

District 15 Outagamie County Board Supervisor Sara MacDonald.  (Outagamie County Board of Supervisors)

"I kind of went back and forth, because I don't want people to think that I'm disrespecting the country," MacDonald said. " I don't want people to think I'm disrespecting the military."

According to the outlet, the meeting went on without any disruptions. 

An American Flag flies outside the US Bank Center on September 20, 2014, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

An American Flag flies outside the US Bank Center on September 20, 2014, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  ((Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images))



MacDonald coordinated the protest with Emily Voight from the Calumet County Board. Voight said she plans to sit for the pledge during next week’s meeting and welcomed others to join her. 

"But I have a feeling it will probably just be myself for Calumet County," Voight told WGBA. "And now, us as women feeling like we don't even have control over our bodies anymore, this allows us to have some semblance of control as a human being of what we do." 

Wisconsin has allowed most abortions until the 22nd week of pregnancy to save the health or life of the mother. Now that Roe v. Wade has been overturned, it is presumed that a state law passed in 1849 making an abortion a felony offense could go into effect, and doctors have halted procedures. However, Wisconsin’s Democratic attorney general filed a lawsuit on June 28 against Republican leaders of the legislature, arguing that the 1849 abortion ban conflicts with a 1985 law that prohibits abortion either after 20 weeks or at the point of fetal viability. His lawsuit says the 1985 law should take precedence. 

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Republican lawmakers are expected to attempt to clarify the 19th-century law during next year’s legislative session to ensure a ban is in place, even as that issue is being argued in the courts. Lawmakers’ efforts would be stymied if Democratic Gov. Tony Evers wins reelection, according to the Associated Press. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.