by Benjamin Yount
Republicans at the Wisconsin Capitol are offering a plan that would allow for some abortions, but the state’s Democratic governor is already saying “No.”
A group of Republican lawmakers on Wednesday introduced legislation that would create exemptions for abortions in cases of rape or incest, which they assert would better define Wisconsin’s only exemption for the health of the mother.
“Is this an ideal bill?” lead sponsor State Rep. Deb Kozar, R-Marshfield, asked. “No. It’s not an ideal bill because we should be protecting all life. But this is not an ideal world. This is a world where bad things happen, tragic things happen, horrific things happen to people.”
Wisconsin is one of about two dozen states that reverted back to old abortion laws after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade last summer.
Wisconsin’s former, and now current law, only allows for abortions in cases where the mother’s health is at risk.
Gov. Tony Evers on Wednesday quickly said he would not sign the Republicans’ abortion plan, even if it made it to his desk.
“Wisconsinites have been clear: we must restore #Roe and repeal Wisconsin’s 1849-era criminal abortion ban. Those are the freedoms Wisconsinites want, and those are the freedoms Wisconsinites deserve,” the governor said on Twitter.
Democratic lawmakers went further.
“Republicans have had opportunity after opportunity to restore comprehensive access to reproductive healthcare in Wisconsin and they continue to refuse to do so. This bill is a disingenuous attempt to cover up their out of touch position in advance of the April 4th election. We know that the majority of Wisconsinites support access to abortion care,” Democratic Assembly Leader Greta Nuebaur said Wednesday.
Republican State Sen. Rachel Cabral-Guevera, R-Appleton, said the Republican plan does reflect what most Wisconsinites that she’s talked to want to see.
“There is a middle ground,” State Cabral-Guevera said. “When I talk with constituents, no one wants zero access and very, very few want 40 week abortions.”
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos told the Associated Press in an interview that he remains pro-life, but feels Wisconsin’s law could be updated.
“There are some things like updating the definition, adding exceptions for rape and incest, that I think are broadly supported by most Republicans that we could get across the finish line,” Vos said.
It’s not just the governor and other Democrats at the Wisconsin Capitol who do not support the abortion exemption plan.
The top Republican in the Wisconsin Senate, Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu declared the legislation dead in the State Senate.
“There are deeply held beliefs on both sides of the abortion debate. Unfortunately, the Governor is only willing to entertain legislation that allows broad access to late-term, elective abortion,” LeMahieu said in a statement. “This is not a topic to use as a political football. It takes careful consideration; speaking to our constituents and our families. Further discussion on this specific proposal is unnecessary. The bill will not be considered on the floor of the Senate.”
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Benjamin Yount is a contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “Tony Evers” by Tony Evers.