By: Riley Vetterkind of the Wisconsin State Journal
Four Republicans from Wisconsin have signed onto a legal brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider overturning its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling guaranteeing the right to an abortion.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, and U.S. Reps. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah; Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls; and Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, were among 39 Republican senators and 168 representatives who signed onto a brief on Thursday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider and possibly overturn the 1973 decision.
No congressional Democrats from Wisconsin signed onto the brief, nor did U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay.
A Gallagher spokesman said the congressman “has a consistent pro-life voting record and obviously supports the broader efforts of the brief.”
The lawmakers submitted the brief in the case of June Medical Services LLC v. Gee. The case, which the U.S. Supreme Court will consider this spring, challenges a 2014 Louisiana law, not currently in effect, which required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the abortion is performed.
If the law is implemented, all of Louisiana’s abortion clinics would close according to local news reports.
For decades, Roe has served as a roadblock for Republicans seeking to curtail access to abortion, but the court’s current conservative majority has made it more attractive for Republicans across the nation to test the limits of the ruling.
In May, for example, Alabama’s Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the most punitive abortion law in the country. It made providing an abortion a felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison except to save the mother’s life, with no consideration for incest or rape.
One of the goals of the law was to spark a legal challenge that would lead the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider Roe.
In October, a U.S. District Court judge blocked the law while the case is pending.
In Wisconsin, Republican lawmakers in the state Assembly and Senate passed less restrictive, but contentious legislation that would have imposed a life sentence on a doctor who intentionally allowed the death of a baby born alive after an attempted abortion. They also approved a bill that attempted to thwart abortions based on fetal attributes such as race, gender or health condition.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the legislation, which Democrats and health care professionals slammed for spreading what they called false and dangerous information about abortions and creating unnecessary and redundant protections.