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Overturning Roe v Wade would criminalize most abortions in Wisconsin

Posted at 5:31 PM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 18:31:09-04

If Roe v Wade is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court nearly all abortions would become criminal in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin's abortion law, established in 1849, criminalizes most abortions unless the doctors determine the mother's life is at risk.

"If the Supreme Court of United States declares Roe v Wade unconstitutional that would take effect immediately," said Barbara Zabawa, a clinical assistant professor who teaches health law and ethics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

If state law takes effect, anyone other than the mother who performs an abortion would be charged with a felony.

Doctors could face up to six years in prison, up to a $10,000 fine, or both.

The punishment ramps up to 15 years in prison and a maximum $50,000 fine for people who conduct an abortion on an "unborn quick child" which is a fetus that can move in the womb or causes the death of the mother during the process.

Wisconsin's law would allow abortions only if doctors determine the mother's life is on the line.

"That determination that the mother's health is in jeopardy has to be advised by two physicians," Zabawa said. "So there's a process that needs to be in place. You can't just say the mom's life was in danger."

Zabawa believes if Wisconsin's abortion law goes back into effect there will be efforts to change it, but whether they are successful is another thing.

A report from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services shows in 2020, 6,336 abortions were reported for Wisconsin residents.

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