A Wisconsin judge on Friday ruled that a lawsuit challenging the state's ban on abortions can proceed.
Current Wisconsin law makes it illegal to kill a fetus, but Judge Diane Schlipper ruled that because the term "abortion" doesn't appear in the law's text, the law does not apply to medical abortions. Instead, the law covers only acts where someone attacks a woman with the intent to kill her unborn child.
Generally, Wisconsin's law, which was enacted in 1849 and has remained on the books since, has been interpreted as making abortion illegal except in cases where it's necessary to save a mother's life.
The Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade in 1973 effectively nullified Wisconsin's law, but the decision to overturn Roe in 2022 meant the law was once again in effect.
Wisconsin's Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul sued to repeal Wisconsin's ban days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe in 2022. He argues newer laws enacted in 1985 supersede it.
Doctors in the state who were concerned about being prosecuted for performing abortions joined the case as plaintiffs.
The case will continue with Schlipper presiding. State Democrats expect the case will eventually make it to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
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