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Gov. Evers vows to grant clemency to doctors charged under state abortion ban

AP Image - Gov. Tony Evers
Posted at 2:16 PM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 15:16:27-04

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, vowed over the weekend to grant clemency to anyone charged under the state’s 1849 law banning most abortions, NBC News reports.

That law, enacted more than a century before Roe v. Wade, has remained on the books in the state and has technically retaken effect following the Supreme Court ruling Friday overturning the landmark case.

Evers, Wisconsin Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul, and several county district attorneys in the state have said they would refuse to enforce it, but it remains possible that other officials — such as other district attorneys and newly elected state lawmakers — could enforce it now or in the future. Evers and Kaul are both up for re-election this fall, and both are facing tough races.

But at a rally during Wisconsin’s state Democratic Party convention Saturday, Evers went even further, saying that in addition to taking steps to not enforce the law, he would grant clemency to doctors prosecuted under the law.

“The 1849 law says that anybody that provides an abortion is subject to a felony, one to six years,” Evers said. “Did you ever think about the word clemency? I will provide clemency to any physician that is charged under that law,” he said.

“I don’t think that a law that was written before the Civil War, or before women secured the right to vote, should be used to dictate these intimate decisions on reproductive health,” he added.

Evers called the Supreme Court decision “bulls---” and warned that abortion access would be even more at risk if one of his Republican opponents were to prevail in November. The four leading candidates running — former Lt. Gov Rebecca Kleefisch, businessman Tim Michels, state Rep. Tim Ramthun, and businessman Kevin Nicholson — are all outspoken opponents of abortion and have said they’d keep the 1849 law intact.

“You think it’s bad now? The four Republicans that are going after me, one of them we’re going to beat, they are going to make it worse," Evers said.

His remarks were first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.