U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says a 20-week abortion ban would be “a pretty reasonable level” to implement restrictions on the procedure.
But he added he wouldn’t support implementing measures that would curb abortion earlier in a pregnancy, including efforts to outlaw it after six weeks.
The proposed 20-week prohibition, a measure the Oshkosh Republican has backed in the Senate, is something he told reporters Saturday at the state GOP convention could pass with “strong bipartisan support.”
“I think the American people are there and (a) very strong majority supports that,” he said. “Then based on technology, based on additional knowledge, additional public awareness, that might be backed up even further, but you should let that political process play out.”
Under the Johnson-backed bill, criminal penalties would be leveled against someone who performs or attempts to perform an abortion after the 20-week mark. Those penalties could include a fine, a prison sentence of up to five years or both. The bill would provide exceptions for rape or incest or to save the life of the mother.
The mother would be exempt from prosecution under the bill.
Johnson said he wouldn’t support an Alabama-style abortion law, which prohibits abortion in almost every circumstance, or a six-week ban.
“That’s pretty early in the process,” he said of a six-week prohibition. “I may personally support that but in terms of public policy and what voters — and that’s what you really need to do, is you have to gain a consensus of voters. Where we’ll eventually end up in this country, I can’t predict.”
Johnson’s comments came as a series of states have passed or are considering bills restricting abortions.
He also lamented that Roe v. Wade was ever before the state Supreme Court, adding the process should’ve played out at the state level rather than going before the U.S. Supreme Court.
If the high court hadn’t taken it up, Johnson predicted states, for the most part, would have laws that “protect life far earlier than we do now.”