A Wisconsin bill that would unconstitutionally ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy includes language stating that men can sue abortion providers for “emotional and psychological distress,” The Huffington Post reports.
If Assembly Bill 237 becomes law, a man who impregnates a woman will be able to sue an abortion doctor for damages – “including damages for personal injury and emotional and psychological distress” – for performing or attempting to perform an abortion on that woman after 20 weeks of pregnancy, unless the pregnancy is the result of sexual assault or incest.
Women who receive abortions can also sue their doctors under the bill.
Though the legislation’s language is making waves, it is not unique to the Wisconsin bill. As The Huffington Post reports, citing Guttmacher Institute data, “6 of the 11 states that currently ban abortion at 20 weeks postfertilization — Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma — have similar language tucked into their respective laws that allow the parents to sue a doctor who performs an abortion after that point.”
Twenty-week abortion bans are unconstitutional because they ban abortion before the point of fetal viability (today, considered to be around 24 weeks’ gestation), the standard established for legal abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973. As such, these bills, which have been enacted in over a dozen states and blocked in three, are designed to directly challenge Roe and ultimately end legal abortion in the United States.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has said he will sign Assembly Bill 237 if it makes it to his desk.