Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, shifting his abortion stance ahead of his expected 2016 presidential bid, has for the first time said he would sign a ban on abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation and would support similar legislation at the federal level.
The Wisconsin governor has always identified himself as anti-choice, but typically declined to comment on his opinion of controversial 20-week bans being introduced in legislatures across the country. Walker, while running for re-election against Mary Burke, ran an ad saying he supports legislation that would leave “the final decision” of whether to end a pregnancy “to a woman and her doctor.”
And during an interview with Fox News Sunday last week, Walker, responding to a question about whether a woman “has a right to end a pregnancy at any point during those nine months,” said he recognizes that a person’s choice to terminate a pregnancy is protected by the Supreme Court.
“Legally, that’s what it is under the guidelines that was provided from the Supreme Court,” said Walker, who survived a recall election in 2012.
Get the facts, direct to your inbox.
Want more Rewire.News? Get the facts, direct to your inbox.
Following criticism from prominent conservative organizations over his comments, Walker wrote a letter to the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, a prominent anti-choice group, clarifying his position on abortion, and in particular, on the 20-week ban in the works in Wisconsin.
“As the Wisconsin legislature moves forward in the coming session, further protections for mother and child are likely to come to my desk in the form of a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks,” he wrote. “I will sign that bill when it gets to my desk and support similar legislation on the federal level.”
The letter, written on Scott Walker letterhead, was released by the SBA List.
Wisconsin Right to Life said in November that they would push a 20-week abortion ban through the legislature this session.
Under his leadership, the Wisconsin legislature defunded Planned Parenthood, prohibited abortion from being covered by health plans in the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges, and made ultrasounds mandatory before an abortion.
Walker, the son of a Baptist preacher, has clarified several opinions as he appeals to conservatives in the run-up to the 2016 campaign, including his stances on anti-union right-to-work legislation and immigration reform.