For a candidate who frequently talks about “leadership,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has an unfortunate habit of dodging fair questions.
In recent weeks, for example, the Republican governor has dodged easy questions about evolution and President Obama. During his re-election campaign last fall, Walker also dodges questions about contraception access, pay equity, and marriage rights.
And then, of course, there’s abortion. As a candidate for re-election last year, the governor refused to say whether he’d support a 20-week abortion ban, instead making campaign ads saying he supports an abortion policy that “leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor.”
Oddly enough, after Walker won re-election and started gearing up for a presidential campaign, he adopted a new posture.
Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin said Tuesday that he would sign a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, coming out strongly on an issue important to social conservatives that he played down in his re-election campaign last year.“As the Wisconsin Legislature moves forward in the coming session, further protections for mother and child are likely to come to my desk in the form of a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks,” he wrote in an open letter. “I will sign that bill when it gets to my desk and support similar legislation on the federal level.”
It’s a curious brand of leadership that leads a politician to believe he should hide beliefs like these until after voters have cast their ballots.
As for the underlying policy, as regular readers may recall, the proposal itself is deeply problematic. Because roughly 99% of abortions occur before the 21st week of a pregnancy, these later terminations often involve “rare, severe fetal abnormalities and real threats to a woman’s health.”
It’s why the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is so strongly against proposals like the one Walker now intends to sign into law.
Also note, at the federal level, congressional Republicans hoped to pass a 20-week ban on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade earlier this year, but the bill was derailed by an intra-party GOP dispute.