AP

Wisconsin Republicans reject Evers call for abortion vote

Sep 20, 2022, 8:00 PM | Updated: Sep 21, 2022, 10:17 am

Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers calls the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature into spe...

Democratic Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers calls the Republican-controlled Wisconsin Legislature into special session to create a pathway for a statewide vote to repeal the state's 1849 ban on abortions at a news conference Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, in the governor's conference room in the state Capitol of Madison, Wis. (AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

(AP Photo/Scott Bauer)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Republicans on Wednesday rejected Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ call to allow voters to get a chance to repeal the state’s 1849 abortion ban.

Evers called Wednesday for a special session of the GOP-controlled Legislature to pass a measure creating a way for voters to repeal the 173-year-old law. But within hours of announcing his proposal, Republican legislative leaders summarily rejected it as a political stunt.

It’s the latest move by Evers to put pressure on Republicans over abortion and keep the issue in the spotlight ahead of the election. Polls have repeatedly shown that a majority of Wisconsin residents support abortion rights. Evers is in a tight race with Republican Tim Michels, who supports the state’s ban, which has no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

Wisconsin clinics stopped performing abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, as a legal fight plays out to determine whether the state’s pre-Civil War era abortion ban is in effect.

Evers has repeatedly used the tactic of calling special sessions on hot-button political issues, including gun control and expanding Medicaid, to put Republicans on the spot. They have never acted on any of the special session calls, including one in June to repeal the state’s ban.

“Hopefully, voters see through his desperate political stunt,” Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and GOP Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said in a joint statement rejecting Evers.

Still, lawmakers will have to formally convene and then adjourn the special session on Oct. 4 as called by Evers, giving Democrats another chance to hit Republicans on the issue.

“Right now, today, when it comes to reproductive freedom, the will of the people isn’t the law of the land but it damned well should be, folks,” Evers said at a state Capitol news conference surrounded by Democratic state lawmakers.

Evers noted that Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson recently voiced support for having voters in the state vote on adding exceptions to the state’s abortion law. Johnson, who is also up for reelection in November, supports exceptions for rape and incest that don’t exist under the current state law.

Evers and his allies have been hitting Michels over his support of the state’s abortion ban. Michels spokesperson Anna Kelly said Evers was trying to deflect from his record.

“Evers doesn’t want this election to be a referendum on his job performance on crime, inflation, or education because he knows that people would reject his tired, old agenda,” Kelly said.

Kansas voters last month rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed the Republican-controlled Legislature to tighten restrictions or ban abortion outright. Michigan voters will decide in November whether to put the right to an abortion into the state constitution.

Unlike other states, Wisconsin law does not allow voters or the Legislature to place referendums on the ballot. Wisconsin law does allow for the Legislature to place constitutional amendments on the ballot. They must be approved in two consecutive legislative sessions and then be approved by voters.

The measure Evers is proposing is not specific to abortion, but instead would allow for voters to place on the ballot proposals to reject laws passed by the Legislature and to enact new laws and constitutional amendments.

Evers also supports a lawsuit filed by Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul challenging the state’s 1849 abortion law.

Last week, Kaul removed top Republican lawmakers from his lawsuit to block enforcement of the law. He replaced them with the district attorneys of Dane, Milwaukee and Sheboygan counties. The move was designed to prevent delays in the lawsuit.

Milwaukee, Dane and Sheboygan counties were the only places in the state where abortions were taking place before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

Kaul filed the lawsuit in June, just days after the court’s ruling, arguing that a 1985 law allowing abortions up to the point of a fetus’ viability supersedes Wisconsin’s 173-year-old ban on nearly all abortions. The point of viability is unclear; some physicians say it’s about 20 weeks, others around 28 weeks.

The attorney general also argues that the ban is unenforceable because it has become obsolete.

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

AP

Image:The headquarters of Live Nation is shown June 29, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California. The Jus...

Associated Press

Government sues Ticketmaster owner and asks court to break up company’s monopoly on live events

The DOJ has accused Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation Entertainment of running an illegal monopoly over live events in America.

2 days ago

Image: Ambulances are seen at the airport where a London-Singapore flight that encountered severe t...

Associated Press

World news roundup: Man dies after turbulence; Iran funerals; Israel media law

A Singapore Airlines flight hit severe turbulence over the Indian Ocean and descended 6,000 feet in a span of about three minutes.

4 days ago

Image: Bruce Nordstrom, left, and Jeannie Nordstrom attend the Nordstrom NYC Flagship Opening Party...

Associated Press

Bruce Nordstrom, who helped grow family-led department store chain, dies at 90

Bruce Nordstrom, a retail executive who helped expand his family's Pacific Northwest chain into an upscale national brand, has died.

5 days ago

Image:Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime min...

Associated Press

World news roundup: Netanyahu arrest warrant; Assange can appeal; UK blood scandal

The International Criminal Court said it is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Benjamin Netanyahu.

5 days ago

Image: In this photo released by the Iranian Presidency Office, President Ebrahim Raisi attends a m...

Associated Press

Iran president and others found dead at helicopter crash site, state media says

Iran President Ebrahim Raisi, the country’s foreign minister and others have been found dead at the site of a helicopter crash Monday.

5 days ago

Photo: Shawna Williams, owner of Free Range Cycles, poses outside her shop on May 6, 2024, in Seatt...

Mae Anderson, The Associated Press

Bike shops boomed early in the pandemic. It’s been a bumpy ride for most ever since

For the nation's bicycle shops, the past few years have probably felt like the business version of the Tour de France, with numerous twists and turns testing their endurance.

6 days ago

Wisconsin Republicans reject Evers call for abortion vote