Evers called Wednesday for a special session of the GOP-controlled Legislature to pass a measure creating a way for voters to repeal the 173-year-old law. But within hours of announcing his proposal, Republican legislative leaders summarily rejected it as a political stunt.
It’s the latest move by Evers to put pressure on Republicans over abortion and keep the issue in the spotlight ahead of the election. Polls have repeatedly shown that a majority of Wisconsin residents support abortion rights. Evers is in a tight race with Republican Tim Michels, who supports the state's ban, which has no exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
Wisconsin clinics stopped performing abortions after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, as a legal fight plays out to determine whether the state's pre-Civil War era abortion ban is in effect.
Evers has repeatedly used the tactic of calling special sessions on hot-button political issues, including gun control and expanding Medicaid, to put Republicans on the spot. They have never acted on any of the special session calls, including one in June to repeal the state's ban.
“Hopefully, voters see through his desperate political stunt," Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and GOP Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said in a joint statement rejecting Evers.
Evers noted that Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson recently voiced support for having voters in the state vote on adding exceptions to the state's abortion law. Johnson, who is also up for reelection in November, supports exceptions for rape and incest that don't exist under the current state law.