Mr. Kaul told The Associated Press this week that if the conservative high court throws out the 1973 decision to legalize abortion nationwide, he would refuse to abide by the state’s 1849 abortion ban that would go back into effect.
“Even if courts were to interpret that law as being enforceable, as attorney general I would not use the resources of the Wisconsin Department of Justice either to investigate alleged violations of that abortion ban or to prosecute alleged violations of it,” Mr. Kaul said during an interview Tuesday.
The attorney general said he believes an abortion ban is unconstitutional and that the state’s legal resources should instead be used for “important” cases, like homicide and sexual assault.
He is up for reelection next year and his stance on abortion comes in stark contrast to that of his two pro-life Republican opponents, Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney and former state Rep. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake.
Mr. Jarchow told the AP that Mr. Kaul is a “subsidiary of the Washington, D.C., swamp” and “while it’s disappointing that he says he will not follow the law, it’s not surprising.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Toney reportedly said he is “proudly pro-life” and he would “defend the police and defend our Wisconsin laws, including our abortion ban, if allowed.”
Wisconsin is among nine states that had an abortion law in place before Roe v. Wade was decided nearly 50 years ago, according to a report by the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that supports abortion rights.
The Supreme Court justices signaled during recent oral arguments over Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that the 1973 landmark ruling could be overturned and a decision may come this summer.
• Emily Zantow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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