Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at the Iowa Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa on Jan. 24, 2015.
Photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for MSNBC

Scott Walker signals support for 20-week abortion ban

Updated

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has said he would sign a ban on abortions performed after 20 weeks and support similar legislation at the federal level, a new position for the potential 2016 Republican contender who has previously worked to soften his abortion stance.

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The Wisconsin governor has always said he opposes abortion, but he had previously declined to weigh in on the 20-week ban. Last year during a competitive re-election campaign with Democrat Mary Burke hitting him hard on women’s issues, Walker ran an ad saying legislation he supported “left the decision to a woman and her doctor.”

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Now that Republican lawmakers in his state are pushing the ban forward in a bill, with an exception for the mother’s life, but not for her health, Walker is moving to the right. “I will sign that bill when it gets to my desk and support similar legislation on the federal level,” Walker wrote in an open letter Tuesday, as first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The position asserts Walker’s place among pro-life conservatives at a pivotal point: the Republican is openly considering a presidential bid and his popularity is on the rise, with recent polls ranking Walker at the top of a crowded field of potential candidates.

If the bill passes, Wisconsin would be the 10th state to ban abortions after 20 weeks, despite doctors’ assertion in recent years that fetuses are unlikely to feel pain before 28 weeks and few live when born before 24 weeks.

Abortion, Scott Walker and Wisconsin

Scott Walker signals support for 20-week abortion ban

Updated