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Most abortions in Wisconsin illegal if court draft holds up

Leaked Report Indicates Supreme Court Set To Overturn Roe v. Wade
Kevin Dietsch
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Demonstrators gather outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on May 02, 2022 in Washington, DC. In an initial draft majority opinion obtained by Politico, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito allegedly wrote that the cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern v. Casey should be overruled, which would end federal protection of abortion rights across the country.

Updated Wednesday at 12:35 p.m. CDT

Nearly all abortions could become illegal in Wisconsin if a leaked majority opinion draft by the U.S. Supreme Court holds up.

According to a Politico report, the draft opinion suggests the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to overturn the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide.

Wisconsin’s 19th-century abortion ban, made unenforceable by Roe, would not take hold until the majority opinion is published. The court is expected to rule on the case before its term ends in late June or early July.

The draft opinion was made in a case challenging Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks, a case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

If the draft opinion becomes reality, abortion in Wisconsin would constitute a crime punishable by up to six years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. There is an exception for when a mother’s life is in danger, but not for rape or incest. That law was passed in 1849.

Sara Benesh, a professor of political science at UW-Milwaukee, explains that the Wisconsin law wasn't removed after abortion was made legal in the U.S.

She says, "We are likely to see discussion about enforcing that existing statute, about writing new statutes, but as it stands now, we have a governor who is supportive of abortion rights, and while Republicans have control of both the Senate and the Assembly, they don't have enough to overturn a veto... but elections have consequences."

On Monday, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers tweeted, “The consequences of overturning Roe v. Wade cannot be overstated. This could have disastrous consequences for Wisconsinites — including Wisconsin women and their families — more than 70% of whom do not support overturning the Roe decision.”

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