Entire Republican Field Would Ban Abortion with No Exceptions

Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the Wisconsin governor’s race will determine the future of abortion rights in the state — highlighting how Gov. Tony Evers has remained a brick wall defending the right to choose while the entire GOP field would ban abortion with no exceptions.

If the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, it would immediately reinstate an archaic Wisconsin law banning almost all abortions. In that case, the Republicans running for governor have all said they would not create exceptions for rape and incest.

On whether they would create exemptions for rape, incest, or the health of a woman, here were the GOP candidates’ responses:

  • Rebecca Kleefisch: “I would see no change and I would be happy.”

  • Kevin Nicholson: “I’m not looking to add exceptions to anything.”

  • Timothy Ramthun: “I am hardcore, 100% pro-life without exceptions.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Evers has broadly supported abortion rights, vetoing legislation that would ban abortions and defund Planned Parenthood.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again today: as long as I’m governor, I will veto any legislation that turns back the clock on reproductive rights in this state — and that’s a promise,” Gov. Evers said.

Read key excerpts from the article below.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin candidates for governor offer sharp differences on abortion as Supreme Court weighs the future of the procedure

Abortion could wind up as a central issue in the race for governor.

The U.S. Supreme Court this summer will decide whether to keep in place the Roe v. Wade decision. A ruling overturning it could immediately reinstate Wisconsin’s 19th-century law banning almost all abortions.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said he believes abortion should be easily accessible. His Republican opponents want to ban most abortions and say they do not want to create exceptions for rape and incest.

The issue offers one of the starkest differences between Evers and his opponents.


Wisconsin has a law on the books from 1849 that bans abortion except to save the life of a woman. That law has been on hold since Roe was decided in 1973 but would go back into effect if the justices overturned that ruling, as attorneys for Mississippi have requested.

The Republicans running for governor — former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, management consultant Kevin Nicholson and state Rep. Timothy Ramthun — don’t want to create additional exceptions if Wisconsin’s abortion ban is reinstated.

“I would see no change and I would be happy that we would be protecting the unborn,” Kleefisch said when asked if she would want to create exemptions from an abortion ban for rape, incest or the health of a woman.

Nicholson struck a similar tone.

“Whatever legislation moves the ball forward and protecting more innocent life, I’m for it. And so I’m not looking to add exceptions to anything,” he said in an interview.

Ramthun in a campaign video said he opposed any exceptions to an abortion ban.

“I am hardcore, 100% pro-life without exceptions,” he said.


The Supreme Court could rule in favor of Mississippi’s 15-week ban without explicitly overturning Roe. Such a ruling likely would not immediately change Wisconsin’s abortion laws but would give Republicans who control the Legislature a chance to impose new restrictions.

Evers would likely veto any new limits while his opponents would welcome them.


Ramthun in February joined about two dozen other Republican lawmakers in co-sponsoring a Texas-style bill that would allow private citizens to sue doctors who perform abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. The bill never made it to the floor of the Assembly or Senate before the legislative session ended this month.

Evers has broadly supported abortion rights. When he first ran for governor in 2018, Evers said if abortion were banned in Wisconsin, he would pardon doctors who performed the procedure. He said then that he would veto legislation to ban abortion after six weeks.

During his time in office, Evers has vetoed legislation that would ban abortions based on sex, reduce government funding for organizations that offer abortion services and give lifetime prison sentences to doctors if they do not provide medical care to babies who are born after attempted abortions. Evers has said Wisconsin already has laws in place to ensure doctors who don’t provide medical care are prosecuted.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again today: as long as I’m governor, I will veto any legislation that turns back the clock on reproductive rights in this state — and that’s a promise,” Evers said in a written statement he issued in December when he vetoed abortion restrictions.


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