OSHKOSH — Wisconsin Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said Saturday he doesn't support a federal law mirroring Alabama's effort to ban most abortions.
Johnson has proposed a nationwide ban on abortions 20 weeks after fertilization, which would be in line with Wisconsin law. The Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalized abortion nationwide until a fetus is developed enough to survive outside a woman's uterus.
Johnson said he wishes the court had never ruled on abortion.
"We should have let that process play out democratically state by state," Johnson told reporters at the Wisconsin Republican Party convention. "The fact of the matter is, you allow it that way, if you don't like the result in the state you currently reside, you can move. You have that freedom in America, which is a good thing."
Johnson said he would not support a nationwide law similar to Alabama's, which makes performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases and contains no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio and Georgia recently approved bans on abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur in about the sixth week of pregnancy. Missouri's Republican-led Senate voted early Thursday to ban abortions at eight weeks, with no rape or incest exceptions. Louisiana lawmakers have been speeding toward passing a six-week ban.
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"That's pretty early in the process," Johnson said. "I may personally support that, but in terms of public policy ... what you really need to do is gain a consensus of voters, where will we eventually end up in this country I can't really predict."
"Do I believe that once there’s a detectable heartbeat, it’s a baby? I do," Vos said.
Johnson said "born alive" legislation in New York, Virginia and in Congress that requires doctors to keep babies alive if they're born after a failed abortion "energized" Republicans. The Wisconsin Assembly passed a "born alive" bill Thursday.
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, speaking at the convention, defended efforts by Wisconsin Republicans to limit abortions in Wisconsin.
"We are always trying to push the envelope because we all stand to win," he said.