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Walker Poised To Sign 20-Week Abortion Ban With No Rape Or Incest Exceptions

AP Photo / Gerald Herbert

As he ramps up his presidential campaign, Walker has veered to the right on social issues, meeting with top evangelical leaders in Washington this past spring. Previously, he had taken a more moderate stance on abortion, while maintaining his opposition, calling the decision “agonizing" in a TV ad last fall and social conservative groups have accused Walker of wavering on social issues.

The 20-week ban -- based on the medically disputed theory that fetuses can feel pain that early into the pregnancy -- is a popular issue among 2016 GOP candidates. According to the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, the major Republican contenders have pledged their support. Walker sent an open letter to the Susan B. Anthony List in March reiterating his opposition to abortion and promising to sign a 20-week abortion ban if it came to his desk.

Currently 11 states have 20-week bans in effect, according to the Guttmacher Institute, with West Virginia becoming the latest to enact their version this week. Wisconsin joins nine other states where the legislation has been introduced.

While the American public remains split on abortion, abortion opponents believe that 20-week bans are a winning issue politically, as a solid majority of Americans support the prohibition. Abortion rights supporters argue that such bans are unconstitutional, as they fall below the point of viability -- commonly held to be 24 weeks -- which has been protected by previous Supreme Court decisions. Last year, the Supreme Court let stand an appeals court decision to strike down Arizona’s version of a 20-week ban, while Idaho’s and Georgia’s bans remain blocked by courts.

About The Author


Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.