Republican U.S. Senator Ron Johnson said on Saturday he supported “exceptions to abortion restrictions in cases of rape, incest or the life of the mother,” but did not ask the legislature to to Amend Wisconsin’s 1849 Law That Bans Most Abortions.
Johnson, who is seeking a third term in November, outlined his position on abortion and contraception in a lengthy statement posted on his campaign website.
The issue of abortion featured prominently in the US Senate race from Wisconsin following the US Supreme Court ruling quashing Roe v. Wade. Leading Democratic candidates support abortion rights and have called on Congress to codify Roe v. Wade.
Johnson, who backed the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe, wrote that he would “never vote to prevent women from getting life-saving procedures or medications for miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies. “.
And he added that he “would never vote to prevent a woman from crossing state lines to access medical treatment, including an abortion procedure. I think any restrictions on such travel would be clearly unconstitutional”.
Abortion remains legal in Illinois. Planned Parenthood of Illinois officials said recently that their clinics have seen a surge in the number of Wisconsin patients seeking abortion procedures since the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Wisconsin’s 19th century law prohibits doctors in Wisconsin from performing abortions except when saving the life of the mother. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, both Democrats filed a lawsuit challenging the law.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said earlier this year that he supported adding an exception for rape and incest, but is unsure whether fellow Republicans would buy into the idea. Republican gubernatorial candidates support the law of 1849.
Democrats criticized Johnson’s statement.
“Whether it’s repeatedly bragging about his role in effectively ending abortion access in Wisconsin or casually telling women to move out if they don’t agree, Ron Johnson has proven that he will not stand up for the rights of Wisconsin residents.
“Wisconsin voters know Johnson’s true record of reproductive deprivation and will hold him accountable in November,” Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Philip Shulman said.
In her statement, Johnson made no mention of the state’s abortion law of 1849. He accused “the Democrats and the pro-abortion movement” of not engaging “in honest debate”, and added that he would be “one of their main targets in the fall”.
A Democratic Super-PAC recently began running an ad, suggesting that he wants to restrict abortion “even in cases of rape and incest”.
He wrote that he believes life begins at conception, “but I fully support allowing the democratic process in each state to decide when society should protect that life. That’s the deep moral question that must weigh the interests and rights of the mother against the interests and rights of the unborn child in her.”
He wrote that he would ‘absolutely oppose ANY punishment imposed on mothers’ and said punishments for crimes, including violations of abortion restrictions, should be ‘determined at the state level’ .
Johnson said he fully supports in vitro fertilization, noting that due to a heart defect, his eldest daughter, Carey, “was unable to carry a pregnancy safely.”
“Luckily, in vitro fertilization was available, and two wonderful women acted as surrogate mothers and blessed her with two beautiful children,” he wrote.
Johnson said he supports “contraception and I think it’s the best way to reduce abortions. or a religious objection to contraceptives for providing them.