In a pro-life victory in Wisconsin, Republican lawmakers have defeated a Democrat bill that would have repealed the state’s abortion ban from the books — a law that could protect babies from abortions when Roe v. Wade is overturned.
With the Supreme Court poised to reverse Roe this summer in a decision related to a ban on many abortions in Mississippi, pro-life and pro-abortion lawmakers in multiple states are fighting intense battles over abortions. Some states are approving abortion bans with the understanding that they could be in force when Roe is reversed while abortion activists are trying to repeal older pro-life laws like Wisconsin’s or approve legislation legalizing abortions up to birth at taxpayer expense.
Sen. Kelda Roys (D-Madison)tried to get her pro-abortion bill to the state Senate floor late Tuesday, but Republicans stopped it.
Last February, Roys and other Democrats introduced a bill that would eliminate certain provisions in state law that state “any person who intentionally destroys the life of an unborn child” is guilty of a felony. This part of state law is currently unenforceable because of the protections provided by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.
After nearly a year since its introduction, the Democratic bill has not yet received a hearing in the Republican-controlled committee on Human Services, Children and Families. In the Senate’s floor session Tuesday, Roys made a motion to suspend the body’s rules and withdraw the bill from committee to be taken up and voted upon.
Roys’ motion to take up the bill failed on a 21-12 party line vote.
While the vote is certainly good news, there is significant concern that the pro-abortion Democrat attorney general would not enforce the ban if and when it’s able to protect babies.
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said in December that he will not enforce a pre-Roe v. Wade state law that bans abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns its ruling.
Kaul, a pro-abortion Democrat, asserted that prosecuting abortionists would take resources away from investigating important crimes like arson and sexual assault. Basically, he believes that unborn babies’ lives are not important or worth protecting.
“Even if courts were to interpret that law as being enforceable, as attorney general I would not use the resources of the Wisconsin Department of Justice either to investigate alleged violations of that abortion ban or to prosecute alleged violations of it,” Kaul told the Associated Press.
“The Justice Department is focused on investigating crimes of statewide importance like homicide, sexual assault and arson,” he continued. “Diverting resources from those important cases to the kinds of cases that could be brought under abortion ban, which I also believe to be unconstitutional, is not something that I would do as attorney general.”
Wisconsin has a 1849 law that criminalizes the killing of unborn babies in abortions, according to the report. The law is unenforceable because of Roe v. Wade, but if the Supreme Court overturns the abortion ruling and allows states to protect unborn babies, the law would go back into effect. The high court heard a direct challenge to Roe on Dec. 1 from Mississippi.
“It would result in serious, negative consequences, including potentially the death of women who wanted to seek exercise for [what has] nearly 50 years been understood to be a constitutionally protected right,” he told the AP.
But Wisconsin Right to Life legislative director Gracie Skogman said Kaul ignored how abortions kill babies in the womb.
“It is heartbreaking but not surprising that our state’s top law enforcer is unwilling to enforce laws,” Skogman said. “He is willing to let his own personal beliefs get in the way of saving countless pre-born babies in our state.”
She said Wisconsin has a unique and powerful opportunity to protect unborn babies from abortion if Roe is overturned. Only eight other states have similar pre-Roe abortion bans, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
“The will of Wisconsinites and our constitutionally enacted laws must be protected and enforced, especially those that defend the most vulnerable among us,” Skogman said.
The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion research group, predicted that 26 states “are certain or likely” to protect unborn babies by banning abortions if the Supreme Court gets rid of Roe.
It identified 21 states, including Wisconsin, with laws or constitutional amendments that would ban abortions once the power to do so returns to the states. The others are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
Additionally, it predicted that five more states, Florida, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming, would move quickly to protect unborn babies from abortion if Roe is overturned.
Altogether, these actions would result in hundreds of thousands of unborn babies being spared from abortion every year across the U.S. Earlier this year, a group of 154 economists and researchers estimated that abortion numbers would drop by about 120,000 in the first year and potentially even more in subsequent years if the high court overturns Roe and allows states to ban abortions again.
Currently, states are forced to legalize abortions for any reason up to viability under Roe and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Because of these cases, the U.S. is one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions up to birth. Since 1973, about 63 million unborn babies and hundreds, perhaps thousands, of mothers have died in supposedly “safe,” legal abortions.
At issue in the Mississippi case is the question of “whether all pre-viability prohibitions on elective abortion are unconstitutional.” The Supreme Court likely will issue a ruling in the spring or summer.