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The Wisconsin law prohibiting nearly all abortions states:

“Any person, other than the mother, who intentionally destroys the life of an unborn child is guilty of a Class H felony.”

The prohibition was signed by Gov. Nelson Dewey on March 31, 1849.

The law provides an exception for an abortion “necessary to save the life of the mother.” It applies to a child who has “quickened,” or whose movements are perceptible to the parent.

Wisconsin’s prohibition was made unenforceable by Roe v. Wade, the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision establishing a national right to an abortion.

On June 24, 2022, the high court overturned Roe. Wisconsin abortion providers stopped offering abortions while a challenge to the 1849 law is pending.

On March 21, 2023, Gov. Tony Evers and fellow Democrats announced reintroduction of a bill to repeal the 1849 law — a measure Republicans refused to consider in 2022.

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Wisconsin State Legislature Wisconsin Legislature: 940.04

Wisconsin State Legislature A Brief History of Abortion Laws in Wisconsin

State of Wisconsin LRB-0692/1

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Tom Kertscher / Wisconsin WatchFact Checker

Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for PolitiFact and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.