Reproductive Rights

An Extreme Abortion Ban is Now Law in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed an extreme 20 week abortion ban into law last week.

Suzanne Tucker /
Suzanne Tucker /

The law, which bans abortions performed past 20 weeks, has no exception whatsoever for rape, incest, or fatal fetal anomalies. Such extreme abortion bans have been overturned time after time, as they directly contradict of the 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, as Roe protects a patient’s right to abortion until fetal viability, around 24 weeks.

A handful of anti-choice politicians and organizations maintain that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks, a claim that is widely contested by the vast majority of the medical community.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have released a letter urging the legislature and governor to oppose the bill. “This is bad medicine, based on the thoroughly debunked fallacy that a 20-week fetus – which is not viable – can feel pain,” the letter reads. “These bills would undoubtedly place us in the unconscionable position of having to watch our patients and their loved ones undergo additional emotional trauma, illness and suffering during what is already a difficult time.”

The law represents Walker’s rapidly changing political stance. While campaigning for the governorship last year, Walker presented himself as a moderate on abortion and claimed to support legislation that would leave “the final decision to a woman and her doctor.” Walker is now a presidential candidate and is increasingly taking more anti-abortion stances.

In addition to Wisconsin, 11 other states currently have an unconstitutional 20-week ban on the books, and three more have been struck down by the courts.

Media Sources:  RH Reality Check 7/10/2015, Huffington Post 7/20/2015, Mother Jones 5/21/2015

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