Wisconsin governor, attorney general file lawsuit challenging state's pre-Roe abortion ban

Wisconsin doctors halt abortions following court ruling overturning Roe v Wade

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team via WLS logo
Tuesday, June 28, 2022
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Wisconsin Governor Evers has vowed to grant clemency to anyone charged under a pre-Roe abortion ban, if it were to be enforced.

MADISON, Wis. (WLS) -- Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul have filed a lawsuit seeking to block the state's 173-year-old ban on abortions, asking a state court to declare the law unenforceable.

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Wisconsin adopted statutes in 1849 banning doctors from performing abortions unless the mother's life is in danger.

The U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Roe vs. Wade decision invalidated the ban but the court's decision this Friday to reverse Roe vs. Wade has created questions about whether the ban is in effect.

RELATED: Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, transforming abortion rights in US

Confusion surrounding the law, and whether it is enforceable, has caused Wisconsin abortion providers, including Planned Parenthood, to suspend abortion procedures in the wake of the Supreme Court decision.

Attorney General Josh Kaul filed a lawsuit in Dane County court Tuesday arguing that a 1985 law that allows abortions up to the point of a fetus' viability supersedes the 1849 ban. He says that means abortions are still legal in Wisconsin before that point in a pregnancy.

Governor Evers has also vowed to grant clemency to anyone charged under the abortion ban, if it were to be enforced.

"If any physician is arrested and tried and about to enter jail for one to six years for doing the same thing they have done for the last 50 years. That's wrong. Clemency will be on the table there," he said.

The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this post.