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GOP AG Nominee Promises To Empower Abortion Ban Enforcers

Oct 17, 2022

GOP AG Nominee Promises To Empower Abortion Ban Enforcers

MADISON, Wis. – Today, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Attorney General candidate Eric Toney has floated allowing DAs to enforce Wisconsin’s 1849 criminal abortion ban in neighboring counties, effectively empowering Republican DAs as roving abortion ban enforcers. Toney’s plan would require the Legislature’s authorization, as District Attorneys are not currently authorized to prosecute cases outside of their county unless requested to do so.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Republican Wisconsin attorney general candidate Eric Toney says district attorneys should cross county lines to prosecute abortion cases

First, Wisconsin’s Republican attorney general candidate Eric Toney suggested the Department of Justice prosecute cases in Milwaukee. Now, he would like to give district attorneys the power to cross county lines to prosecute abortion cases. 

Toney, who has been outspoken in his support for banning abortion in nearly all cases, said when a district attorney doesn’t enforce the state’s 1849 abortion ban, a different DA should be able to come into the county to do it.

“We need to give our attorney general the authority to prosecute. They already would have the technical authority to investigate it,” Toney said during an interview conducted in July and broadcast Friday on PBS. “And I think another approach would be allowing for adjoining counties to be able to investigate and enforce that abortion ban in Wisconsin.”

District attorneys in Wisconsin are not allowed to prosecute cases outside of their jurisdictions unless requested by that county’s district attorney.

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Kaul has also said he would not enforce the law as attorney general. 

“The Wisconsin Department of Justice has about 100 investigators, as well as a number of prosecutors,” Kaul said during the same PBS interview. “Putting those resources towards going after doctors or nurses or spouses or parents for violating that 19th century abortion ban first is wrong, but on top of that, would be shifting resources from protecting public safety.”

Kaul’s campaign spokesman, Joe Oslund, added Monday: “Eric Toney’s suggestion that we turn the AG and DAs into roving abortion ban enforcers should be deeply concerning to all Wisconsinites.” 

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