MADISON, WIS. Wisconsin Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul said in an interview on Tuesday that he would not investigate or prosecute anyone for an abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the Roe Wade case and the state’s ban is currently unenforceable.
The comments to the Associated Press were Kaul’s strongest comments to date on how he would respond to the Supreme Court’s annulment of a landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion nationwide. A Wisconsin injunction issued in 1849 was unenforceable under Roe v. Wade, but would be re-enforced if conservative Supreme Court justices decided to ignore Roe, as they had suggested. in oral arguments this month in a case over Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban. A decision is expected this summer.
Abortion is expected to be a central issue in the 2022 elections in Wisconsin and other states. Kaul is set to run for re-election alongside Democratic Governor Tony Evers. Both are abortion rights advocates and face Republican opponents who want abortion back illegal.
Wisconsin is one of 21 states that have had laws or constitutional amendments that make them certain to try to ban abortion as quickly as possible, according to analysis from the Guttmacher Institute, a research group advocating abortion rights.
Wisconsin is one of nine states with abortion laws that predate Roe v. Wade, according to the analysis.
Kaul told the AP that it’s unclear what the exact law in Wisconsin would look like if Roe sues Wade to be brought down. That will depend on exactly how the Supreme Court rules and deals with legal issues related to the enforcement of a law that has not been used in nearly 50 years, he said.
“Even if the courts interpret that law as enforceable, as attorney general, I will not use the resources of the Wisconsin Department of Justice to investigate allegations of violations of the restraining order. pregnancy or to prosecute allegations of breaking that law,” Kaul said.
Even if Kaul took that approach, most prosecutions for violations of any abortion ban would most likely be brought by district attorneys.
Kaul said the Justice Department is focusing on investigating crimes of statewide importance such as murder, sexual assault and arson.
“Moving resources away from those important cases to the kinds of cases that can be brought under the abortion ban, which I also believe is unconstitutional, is not something I would do as attorney general. ,” he said.
Kaul said enforcing the abortion ban would undermine public safety.
And it will lead to serious negative health consequences, including the death of women who seek to fulfill what for nearly 50 years has been understood as a constitutionally protected right.
Two Republicans have launched campaigns to challenge Kaul: Fond County Attorney led by Lac Eric Toney and former State Representative Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake.
Toney said Kaul is a politician, not a law enforcement officer.
“I am proud of my life and I will defend the police and defend our Wisconsin laws, including our abortion ban, if permitted,” Toney said.
Jarchow considers Kaul to be “a wholly owned subsidiary of the Washington DC Swamp.”
“He was the definition of partisan and a failed leader,” says Jarchow. “So while it’s disappointing for him to say he won’t follow the law, it’s not surprising.”