The front-runner for the Republican nomination said she would provide no exception for rape or incest.
Wisconsin's leading Republican contender for governor said she supports a 173-year-old state law that would ban all abortions, including in cases of rape or incest, and would also make it a felony to provide the medical procedure.
Rebecca Kleefisch, who served as Wisconsin's lieutenant governor under Republican Gov. Scott Walker, told a local television station on Thursday that she supports an 1849 state law that bans all abortions, except if the mother's life is at risk. The law also makes it a felony for "anyone, other than the mother" who "intentionally destroys the life of an unborn ... child" or "causes the death of the mother by an act done with intent to destroy the life of an unborn child."
The state's abortion ban was superseded in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, which found that abortion is a Constitutional right for all Americans. But if the high court overturns its own ruling — as a conservative draft opinion published by Politico on Monday suggests will happen — Wisconsin's abortion ban could once again go into effect.
Kleefisch could not contain her excitement at the prospect of Wisconsinites losing their ability to receive a safe and legal abortion for the first time in almost 50 years.
"I hoped for it, I prayed for it," Kleefisch told a local Wisconsin television station on Thursday.
When asked if she supports an exemption for rape or incest, Kleefisch replied, "No, because I don't think it's the baby's fault how the baby is conceived." An embryo is not a baby.
Abortion rights have shaken up the race for Wisconsin governor in the wake of the leaked Supreme Court decision, as the chief executive of the state has the power to sign or veto bills from the state legislature to ban abortion.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who is running for reelection for a second term, supports abortion rights.
After the Supreme Court decision leaked, Evers was one of 17 governors who sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to pass a federal law codifying the right to an abortion.
"It is imperative that Congress acts swiftly to ensure that all Americans continue to have meaningful access to reproductive healthcare and abortion," reads the letter.
Voters in Wisconsin strongly support abortion rights, with nearly two-thirds of voters saying they support abortion in all or most cases, according to 10 years worth of polling from Marquette University.
Polling shows Kleefisch is the front-runner in the Republican primary race. She has a long history of opposing abortion, and even agreed with a statement made by a former Republican candidate who said that rape victims who are impregnated by their rapists should "turn lemons into lemonade."
If Wisconsin Republican voters select Kleefisch to be their nominee, she will face off against Evers in the swing state that President Joe Biden carried by less than 1 point.
The nonpartisan political handicapping outlet Inside Elections rates the race a toss-up.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.