UPDATE: Thursday evening results are that Walker has survived the recall vote.
MADISON, WISCONSIN, June 5, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) –
One bitter election controversy ends in Wisconsin this evening and another begins, as Wisconsin voters stream into the polls to vote on whether to recall Governor Scott Walker in a showdown observers say will determine the shape of this November’s presidential election.
Governor Walker, a Republican who defeated Democrat Tom Barrett in 2010, faces a recall after enacting a series of effective but unpopular financial reforms that limit public sector collective bargaining. The reforms sparked a union-led backlash that resulted in the possibility he will leave office after eighteen months.
Wisconsin’s pro-life, pro-family leaders say if Walker loses to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the result would be calamitous.
“Governor Walker has already signed into law several pro-life bills during his short, two-year tenure in office,” Julaine Appling, president of Wisconsin Family Action, told LifeSiteNews.com.” He says he is 100 percent pro-life, and he that he has certainly done things so far that show he is truly 100 percent pro-life. To lose him would mean quite a setback for the pro-life movement in Wisconsin.”
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Walker signed a ban on telemed abortions, where pregnant women are given abortion-inducing drugs without a personal visit with the abortionist himself. His financial reforms included ending a $130,000 state contract with Planned Parenthood.
Both Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and NARAL Pro-Life America of Wisconsin have endorsed Walker’s opponent, Tom Barrett, as have President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
Appling told LifeSiteNews that before he was mayor, Barrett “had a terrible track record as it relates to protecting the sanctity of life when he was in the House of Representatives.” While Governor Walker barred the state health exchange from funding abortion, Barrett favors covering abortion under the exchanges, which will be enacted in 2014 as part of the president’s health care law.
“He is the opposite of Governor Walker on every issue,” she said.
Despite their comparative records on abortion, 26 Jesuit priests – including Father Thomas A. Lawler, SJ, a member of the Marquette University Board of Trustees – signed the petition to recall Walker.
Political figures around the nation have weighed in on the gubernatorial election. Political PACs and concerns located outside the state provided one quarter of Barrett’s war chest and much more of Walker’s campaign funds. Former President Clinton campaigned for Barrett, while Barack Obama tweeted his support from afar. Barrett told the media he was not disappointed by Obama’s absence.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is often touted as a vice presidential candidate for Mitt Romney, endorsed Walker.
“This is for all the marbles,” Appling told LifeSiteNews. “It’s about freedom, life, marriage, family, prosperity. It’s everything.”
The electoral contest is also being touted as a contest to see which political party is better organized. Wisconsin has narrowly favored Democrats in the last few presidential elections, and Republicans hope disappointment over the sour economy will turn the state in their favor.
A party shift in the state house will effect the state but send a message far beyond.
“The path to November runs squarely through today’s recalls here in Wisconsin,” Appling said. “This is Ground Zero right now.”
An estimated three million voters will vote in today’s recall election.