Gov. Evers’ administration offers clemency to convicted doctors

Gov. Tony Evers speaks at the 2022 Democratic State Convention in La Crosse
Gov. Tony Evers speaks at the 2022 Democratic State Convention in La Crosse
Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 7:46 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 27, 2022 at 9:34 PM CDT
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WBAY) - Gov. Tony Evers announced doctors who are convicted under Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban will be offered clemency. That announcement came during this weekend’s state Democratic convention in La Crosse.

Action 2 News asked the governor if this is his way of giving abortion clinics the green light to proceed. He said no doctor should go to prison for a law passed in the 19th century concerning women’s reproductive rights.

The issue became the number-one topic at the party’s convention, with every Democratic candidate vowing to fight the Supreme Court ruling.

Attorney General Josh Kaul said, “As attorney general, my top priority is public safety. So let me be very clear about this: It does not serve the health or the safety of Wisconsinites to enforce a 19th-century abortion ban, and we are not going to do it at the Wisconsin Department of Justice.”

Republicans are responding to this. Tim Michels, who is running for governor, held a rally in the Lomira area Monday evening.

“I am pro-life,” he told the audience. “It comes from my faith.”

“I’m not looking to make any friends in Madison. People in Wisconsin are tired of politics as usual. They’re tired of the political status quo, and they are ready for change, and that’s why we’re in this race, and that’s why we’re gonna win,” Michels said.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Friday to strike down its decision in Roe v. Wade, some Democrats and abortion rights supporters have questioned the validity of Wisconsin’s 173-year-old ban and say they’ll work with lawmakers to update or replace it. At the same time, abortion opponents want the Legislature to clarify and strengthen the law to completely ban surgical and medication abortions.

The Supreme Court ruling was a major topic for Republican candidates at a gubernatorial debate in Howard Monday night attended by Rebecca Kleefisch, Kevin Nicholson and Timothy Ramthun. Michels did not attend. The three candidates also discussed crime in Wisconsin, laws related to elections, and the pandemic. Action 2 News will have an in-depth breakdown of the debate on Tuesday.

Evers told The Associated Press he believes the abortion issue will energize independent voters to support him and other Democrats. Evers won the gubernatorial election in 2018 by a margin of just 1.2 percent.

Jason Zimmerman covered the convention in La Crosse and says abortion rights took center stage

Copyright 2022 WBAY. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.