Ron Johnson wants to show images of embryos and fetuses to build support for abortion ban - TAI News
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Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. speaks at a rally for Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump on Tuesday April 2, 2024, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) wants to stage an “education campaign” in which people are shown images of embryos and fetuses at various stages of pregnancy, hoping to build support for a state ban on abortion after 14 weeks of pregnancy.

“We need to understand, first of all, what an abortion looks like at every stage of pregnancy. We have not had that discussion,” Johnson told reporters in Madison on April 22, according to local TV station WISN. “Leading up to that referendum, we should have an education campaign that describes what life looks like inside the womb at different stages and what babies can experience when they’re viable, but also, as abhorrent as it would be, what does an abortion look like at four weeks and eight weeks and 12 weeks?”

Johnson said he believes showing images of the various stages of fetal development would help Republicans pass a bill authorizing a voter referendum on a 14-week abortion ban. 

In response, Joe Oslund, a spokesperson for the Wisconsin Democratic Party, posted on X: “We already had a statewide referendum on abortion. Voters made it very clear where they stand. It’s time for Ron Johnson to pick a new talking point.” Oslund included a graphic containing the results of the 2023 state Supreme Court election in which liberal justice Janet Protasiewicz easily defeated her conservative opponent after running on a pledge to protect abortion rights.

The Republican-controlled Wisconsin State Assembly passed a bill in January that would have placed such a referendum on the April primary ballot. The State Senate, however, never took up the bill.

Even if both GOP-controlled chambers had passed a bill authorizing a referendum, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers would have vetoed it. 

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin stopped providing abortions in the state for 15 months after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June 2022 that overturned Roe v. Wade brought back into effect an 1849 law that criminalized “Any person, other than the mother, who intentionally destroys the life of an unborn child.” But abortions resumed in September 2023 after a Dane County circuit judge ruled that the 1849 law did not pertain to consensual abortions but rather to feticide, killing a fetus in the womb against a pregnant person’s will. 

Johnson’s comments on abortion came the same day that Vice President Kamala Harris visited La Crosse, where she gave a speech on the need to protect and expand reproductive rights in the United States. 

Harris said former President Donald Trump and Republicans are to blame for the state of abortion rights in the country, noting that they nominated and confirmed the conservative justices who ultimately overturned Roe v. Wade.

“There is a clear line between where we are now and who is to blame,” Harris said in remarks at the La Crosse Center. “Because the former President was very clear with his intention: He would fill and appoint three members of the United States Supreme Court with the intention that they would undo the protections of Roe. And when they then got on that court, they did exactly what he intended.”

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