GOP lawmakers set to end special session on abortion ban

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MADISON, Wis. (TSWT) — Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin were set to meet in a special session on Wednesday. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has called for the battleground state’s dormant abortion ban to be repealed and quickly adjourned without taking any action.

Wisconsin passed a ban on abortion except to save the life of the mother in 1849, a year after the territory became a state. The landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court, Roe v. Wade, who essentially legalized abortion nationwide in 1973, reversed the ban.

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The court should overturn Roe v. Wade this month, which would allow the Wisconsin ban to come back into effect. Evers on June 8 called the Legislature into special session on Wednesday to repeal the ban.

Republicans called the move a political stunt designed to please the Democratic base as Evers faces re-election in November. GOP leaders in the Assembly and Senate planned to start the special session around noon Wednesday and then end it by giving immediately.

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The state ban will likely be challenged in court if Roe v. Wade is canceled.

A major question is how the ban would interact with a related state law passed in 1985 that prohibits abortions after the fetus has achieved viability, but provides an exemption for women whose health might be endangered by the continuation of the pregnancy. Abortion rights groups have argued for a broad interpretation of this exemption to include a woman’s emotional and mental health.

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Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, said he thought the 1849 law was too old to enforce. He also said he would not investigate or prosecute doctors who perform abortions if the old law comes back into effect.

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