MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Three Republican gubernatorial hopefuls say they would fire prosecutors who refuse to enforce Wisconsin’s 173-year-old ban on abortions in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision reversing Roe vs. Wade.
Former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, management consultant Kevin Nicholson and state Rep. Timothy Ramthun all said during a debate on Monday that they would remove district attorneys who won’t enforce the ban. Former President Donald Trump’s endorsed candidate, Tim Michels, didn’t attend the debate.
Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne has said he won’t enforce the ban. Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm has hinted he won’t enforce it, either. Ozanne and Chisholm are Democrats.
District attorneys are elected officials but state law allows the governor to remove them from office for cause.
Wisconsin adopted statutes in 1849 that prohibit doctors from providing abortions unless the procedure is necessary to save the mother’s life. It includes no exemptions for rape or incest.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973 essentially legalized abortion across the country and invalidated Wisconsin’s abortion ban. The court on Friday reversed the decision, returning abortion regulation to the states. Republicans have argued the move reinstated Wisconsin’s ban. Democrats have questioned whether the ban is in effect.