How Texas’ new restrictions to abortion could impact Wis. laws

Published: Sep. 3, 2021 at 4:44 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 3, 2021 at 5:49 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - After a Texas law banning most abortions took effect this week, pro-life and pro-choice advocates in Wisconsin predict their state’s own abortion laws will not drastically change under the current administration.

Texas now prohibits abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, as the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to block enforcement of the law.

“We hope that other states will follow suit. We hope Wisconsin will be one of them,” Heather Weininger, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, said. But based on prior action, Weininger doubts Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, will mirror the move of Texas lawmakers.

“I fear that we can’t do it right now in Wisconsin. Or we can actually introduce it, but it won’t get signed into law,” she said. “But I think it gives us an amazing opportunity to educate people about the human development.”

Abortion is allowed in Wisconsin before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

In 2019, Evers vetoed four bills that would have restricted reproductive healthcare.

UW-Madison Associate Professor Sara McKinnon said compared to other state laws, Wisconsin’s laws are moderate and not “the most restrictive.”

State Senator Melissa Agard (D-Madison) said she has heard from constituents concerned about Texas’s new law.

She said, “It’s startling. It’s disappointing. We do know the right for people to have access to abortions is the right to life-saving healthcare.”

McKinnon pointed to the potential of other states following suit.

“When one state makes a legal challenge or is successful in restricting abortion, then oftentimes other states will then pick that same language up and try to make the same fight,” McKinnon said.

McKinnon and Agard also pointed to the likelihood that Evers would not overturn the state’s abortion laws.

The governor’s office did not respond to request for comment Friday, on the question of how he’d handle potential abortion bills. But a spokesperson pointed to Twitter, where the governor wrote Thursday “I will always trust women to make decisions about their bodies and their healthcare.”

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