Wisconsin attorney general won’t enforce any abortion ban

Dec 13, 2021, 10:03 PM | Updated: Dec 14, 2021, 2:24 pm
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul speaks during the We Are the 80% rally on Thursday, Nov. 7, 20...

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul speaks during the We Are the 80% rally on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 at the State Capitol in Madison, Wis. Kaul said in an interview Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021 that he would not investigate or prosecute anyone for having an abortion should the state's currently unenforceable abortion ban go into effect. (Steve Apps /Wisconsin State Journal via AP, File)

(Steve Apps /Wisconsin State Journal via AP, File)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul said in an interview Tuesday that he would not investigate or prosecute anyone for having an abortion should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade and a currently unenforceable state ban takes effect.

The comments to The Associated Press are Kaul’s strongest to date about how he would react to the Supreme Court undoing the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. A Wisconsin ban enacted in 1849 has been unenforceable under Roe v. Wade, but would take effect again if conservative Supreme Court justices decide to overrule Roe, as they suggested during oral arguments this month in a case over Mississippi’s 15-week ban on abortions. A decision is expected this summer.

Abortion is expected to be a central issue in the 2022 election in Wisconsin and other states. Kaul is up for reelection along with Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. Both are supporters of abortion rights and face Republican opponents who want to make abortion illegal again.

Wisconsin is one of 21 states with laws or constitutional amendments already in place that would make them certain to attempt to ban abortion as quickly as possible, according to an analysis from the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights.

Wisconsin is one of nine states with an abortion ban law that predates Roe v. Wade, according to the analysis.

Kaul told the AP that it’s not clear what exactly the law in Wisconsin would be if Roe v. Wade is struck down. That would depend on exactly how the Supreme Court rules and resolving legal issues related to enforcing a law that hasn’t been in use for nearly 50 years, he said.

“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 said.

Even if Kaul would take that approach, most prosecutions for violating any abortion ban would most likely be brought by district attorneys at the county level.

Kaul said the Justice Department is focused on investigating crimes of statewide importance like homicide, sexual assault and arson.

“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,” he said.

Kaul said enforcing an abortion ban would undermine public safety.

“And it would result in serious negative health consequences, including potentially the death of women who wanted to seek to exercise what for nearly 50 years been understood to be a constitutionally protected right,” he said.

Two Republicans have launched campaigns to challenge Kaul: Fond do Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney and former state Rep. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake.

Toney said Kaul was a politician, not a law enforcement officer.

“I am proudly pro-life and I will defend the police and defend our Wisconsin laws, including our abortion ban, if allowed,” Toney said.

Jarchow blasted Kaul as “a wholly owned subsidiary of the Washington DC swamp.”

“He is the very definition of partisanship and a failed leader,” Jarchow said. “So, while it’s disappointing that he says he will not follow the law, it’s not surprising.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

An Afghan covered with a blanket, speaks with other migrants at an old school used as a temporary s...
Associated Press

Greece: Gales stall efforts to find missing migrants

KYTHIRA, Greece (AP) — Strong winds were hampering efforts around two Greek islands Friday to find at least 10 migrants believed to be missing after shipwrecks left 23 people dead, officials said. A dinghy and a sailboat sank in two separate incidents late Wednesday and early Thursday off the islands of Lesbos, near the coast […]
1 day ago
FILE - Elon Musk speaks at the SATELLITE Conference and Exhibition March 9, 2020, in Washington. Tr...
Associated Press

To buy Twitter, Musk has to keep banks, investors on board

If the squabbling ever stops over Elon Musk’s renewed bid to buy Twitter, experts say he still faces a huge obstacle to closing the $44 billion deal: Keeping his financing in place. Earlier this week, Musk reversed course and said he’d go through with acquiring the social media company under the same terms he agreed […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this file photo released by the U.S. Navy, a Saildrone Explorer unmanned sea drone sails ...
Associated Press

US, UK hold drone drill in Persian Gulf after Iran seizures

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The U.S. Navy held a joint drone drill with the United Kingdom on Friday in the Persian Gulf, testing the same unmanned surveillance ships that Iran twice has seized in recent months in the Middle East. The exercise comes as the U.S. Navy separately told commercial shippers in the […]
1 day ago
A man wearing a blanket cast his vote at a poling station in Maseru, South Africa, Friday, Oct. 7, ...
Associated Press

Thousands vote in southern Africa’s small kingdom Lesotho

MASERU, Lesotho (AP) — Thousands of voters in Lesotho are casting their ballots in the country’s general elections. The elections are a tight race between the top three parties out of a field of more than 60 registered political parties. Outgoing Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu of the Democratic Congress party is running against his […]
1 day ago
A Russian rocket sticks out of the ground in a forest near Oleksandrivka village, Ukraine, Thursday...
Associated Press

Missiles, drones hit Zaporizhzhia again as death toll rises

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — The death toll from a Russian missile attack on apartment blocks in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia rose to 11 on Friday as the city was hit again by missiles and — for the first time — by explosive packed drones. With its army suffering a series of stinging battlefield […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Japan regulator orders brokerage to halt block trading

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Financial Services Agency ordered brokerage SMBC Nikko Securities to suspend its block trading operations for three months from Friday as part of penalties in a market manipulation case. That follows the arrest of its vice president, Toshihiro Sato, and several other employees on suspicion they put in massive buy orders to […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Wisconsin attorney general won’t enforce any abortion ban