Gov. Evers calls special session to repeal 1849 abortion ban if Roe is overturned

NOW: Gov. Evers calls special session to repeal 1849 abortion ban if Roe is overturned

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- In an attempt to keep abortions legal in Wisconsin if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, Democratic Governor Tony Evers is calling a special session in effort to repeal a 173-year-old state ban on abortions that could go into effect.

On Wednesday, June 8, Gov. Evers announced he's calling for a special session on June 22 to try and force lawmakers to reverse an 1849 state law that would ban all abortions unless a doctor determines a mother's life is at risk. Under that law, there is no exception for rape or incest.

The announcement comes in anticipation of the U.S Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade after a leaked draft opinion found the 1973 ruling unconstitutional to seek an abortion.

"Overturning #Roe could have disastrous consequences for so many people we love and care about—our family members, our friends, and our neighbors—who could have their ability to make their own reproductive healthcare decisions taken from them," said Evers in a Twitter post.

Republican lawmakers are almost certain to ignore Evers' request as a majority support upholding the 1849 law. Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said his chamber will gavel in and out of the special session.

"Wisconsin law has not changed and our pro-life position has not changed," LeMahieu said. “We will gavel out of another blatantly political special session call from this partisan governor.”

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos was not immediately available to comment.

With GOP leaders expected to ignore the special session, Republican could instead use that time to reevaluate the states criminal abortion ban. Some Republicans don't want to see any changes, others are open to adding exceptions for rape or incest. 

Vos told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in May he would like to see exceptions for rape and incest if Wisconsin's abortion ban goes into effect.

Regardless of what they decide to do, it could have political implications during a pivotal election year which pro-life and pro-choice groups are hoping to capitalize on. 

"If this Legislature decides they don't want to take action to repeal this bill, then it's something all of us, when we go to the ballot box, should consider," said Mike Murray, executive direction of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. 

Wisconsin Right to Life believes limiting access to abortion will be a huge motivating factor for Wisconsin voters. 

"We hope to lay out to voters before these elections the importance of getting behind candidates who are willing to defend all life," said Gracie Skogman, legislative director for Wisconsin Right to Life. 

For Evers, asking lawmakers to repeal the state's criminal abortion ban could help him score political points. Meanwhile for Republicans, they could also use it toward their advantage to energize their base. 

The latest polling shows 61% of Wisconsin voters support the right to an abortion in all or most cases, according to the Marquette University Law School poll. 

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