Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill Monday to outlaw non-emergency abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
Walker called the measure a “reasonable standard,” according to the Associated Press. Pro-life activists support restricting abortion after 20 weeks, at the time they say that a fetus is capable of feeling pain.
“For people, regardless of where they might stand, when an unborn child can feel pain I think most people feel it’s appropriate to protect that child,” Walker said.
The new law bans doctors from performing abortions after 20 weeks unless they believe the mother will die or be subject to irreversible injuries within 24 hours, at the penalty of up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Notably, it does not include exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest.
Walker’s signature makes Wisconsin the 15th state to enact a similar law, according to the AP. Other states have enacted such bans and faced litigation — most recently in May, a federal court struck down an Idaho law prohibiting abortions before the 20-week mark. Many expect Wisconsin’s ban to be challenged in court as well, but Walker told reporters that he believes the law will survive any court challenges, the AP reports.
The Democratic National Committee has already come out swinging against the new law, calling it a campaign tactic and “timely favor” for his GOP base as Walker wages his campaign for the Republican nomination for president.
“The harsh reality is that this law will hurt women, as it puts up barriers to care for rape and incest survivors — no exceptions — and threatens the health of the mother,” Kaylie Hanson, a regional spokesperson for the DNC, said in a statement Monday. “This law doesn’t only undermine the most basic women’s health services. It’s radical, dangerous, and lacks respect for half the population of Wisconsin.”
Heather Weininger, executive director of pro-life group Wisconsin Right to Life, adamantly supports the new law, calling it “historic and lifesaving” when the measure passed the Wisconsin legislature earlier this month.
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