Attorney General Josh Kaul has filed a lawsuit, seeking to overturn Wisconsin’s 1849 law criminalizing abortion.
In Milwaukee on Tuesday, the Democratic AG said Wisconsinites need clarity on how the law applies now. “The truth of the matter is, the legislature has left us without that, and with conflicting laws in place. So we’re going to do as much as we can to provide clarity but, we’ve been left in a difficult spot. It’s why it’s so important that Republican legislators come into session to protect reproductive freedom.”
The suit, filed in Dane County Court, argues the 1849 law has been superseded by other restrictions in the years since and is therefore unenforceable. That includes a ban on abortion after 20 weeks that Republicans approved in 2015.
Kaul described the more than century old statute as “deeply ant-family.”
“A lot of the women who obtain abortions are mothers,” he said. “They’re often in very difficult circumstances, including potentially ectopic pregnancies that could leave kids who are alive without a parent. It is so important that we empower women and their families to make these decisions and not politicians.”
Abortion remains legal in two neighboring states – but Governor Tony Evers said that’s not a real solution for individuals needing one in Wisconsin.
“Of course the folks in Illinois and Minnesota are being helpful, we’re hoping to have services available nearest to our borders as possible,” Evers said. “But at the end of the day, that is not going to help all sorts of vulnerable women who can’t cross our borders, because they don’t have the wherewithal to do that.”
BREAKING: @WisDOJ AG Kaul and I are filing a direct challenge to Wisconsin’s 1849 criminal abortion law banning nearly all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest.
We won’t go back, we won’t back down, and we are going to fight like hell. pic.twitter.com/DraylV4i1D
— Governor Tony Evers (@GovEvers) June 28, 2022
Pro-life groups are condemning Kaul’s action. “While I’m not at all surprised that a lawsuit has been filed, I am definitely disappointed in Attorney General Josh Kaul” said Julaine Appling, President of Wisconsin Family Action. “His job is to defend Wisconsin law, not to challenge a duly enacted statute that he and the governor disagree with. This is obvious pandering to Evers’ and Kaul’s political allies.”
Gov. Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul are challenging Wisconsin’s state law banning most abortions with a new lawsuit. Hopefully, this dubious political stunt will be quickly dismissed. https://t.co/zEyVTJ47Kc
— ✰✰Wisconsin Family Action✰✰ (@WIFamilyAction) June 29, 2022
“Wisconsin’s 1849 criminal abortion ban is in full effect and that is why Wisconsin’s abortion providers, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services, are no longer performing abortions,” said Matt Sande, Pro-Life Wisconsin Legislative Director. “It is the job of our state’s top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Kaul, to enforce laws protecting human life, not sue to overturn them.”