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Wisconsin judge hears first arguments in abortion lawsuit

Attorney General Josh Kaul filed the challenge last summer in Dane County, hoping to repeal the ban
Abortion Wisconsin
Posted at 5:44 AM, May 04, 2023

MADISON, Wis. — A Wisconsin judge just heard the very first arguments in an abortion lawsuit. Our state’s attorney general is suing to repeal a 174-year-old abortion ban.

Attorney General Josh Kaul’s lawsuit argues the 1849 abortion law is so old, it was essentially adopted without the people’s consent. While the other side argues, state laws never lose their effect, no matter how long ago it was written.

Matthew Thome, defense attorney for Sheboygan County District Attorney Joel Urmanski, said, “There are predecessor statutes that are going back to the founding of this state addressing this issue and…the burden on implied repeal is actually even higher.”

The prosecution points to a 1985 statute that allows pregnant women to have an abortion up until a fetus can survive outside of the womb, which directly conflicts with the other law which makes it a felony to perform an abortion, except to save the mother’s life.

Leslie Freehill, who was on the prosecution’s side representing doctors, argued, “Every physician across the state and county, they need to know what they can do because they make these decisions not within days or hours but within seconds. They have to know what the law allows them to do.”

Josh Kaul speaks following lawsuit hearing

AG Kaul talks abortion ban repeal

Attorney General Josh Kaul is suing three district attorneys who represent Milwaukee, Sheboygan and Dane counties, to stop them from enforcing the 1849 abortion ban. Republican Joel Urmanski, the Sheboygan County District Attorney, has vowed to prosecute anyone violating the abortion ban. His attorney argued in court today that criminal charges should be decided by each county prosecutor.

Kaul warned in a news conference this afternoon that our state may soon see doctors fleeing the state because of this. “I’ve heard about OBGYN students who don't want to practice in the state of Wisconsin at a time when we already have a shortage. We need to restore access to safe and legal abortion in Wisconsin," according to Kaul.

Citizens of Wisconsin are keeping a close eye on the outcome, including pro-life demonstrator Chris O’Brien, who believes, “Human life begins at conception and no matter where your state is, your location, you're still a human being and that's what's important here.”

As we wait for this Dane County judge’s decision, it may ultimately end up in the hands of our state’s Supreme Court. It will be a liberal-leaning 4-3 majority in the court, once Janet Protasiewicz is sworn into office in August.

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