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Michels: I would sign a ban on abortion with exceptions of rape and incest

MADISON, Wisconsin. — Republican Tim Michels said Friday that he would sign an abortion ban with exceptions for rape and incest if it reached his desk as governor, a reversal from his earlier statement that Wisconsin’s 1849 ban, with an exception only for the life of the mother, was “an exact mirror” of her position.

Conservative radio host Dan O’Donnell asked Michels if he would sign a bill passed by the Legislature with exceptions for rape and incest.

“I am pro-life, but I also understand that this is a representative democracy and if the people, in this case the Legislature, presented me with a bill, I would sign it,” Michels replied.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, locked in a tight race with Michels in the battleground state, supports abortion rights. Evers has backed a lawsuit by Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat, arguing that the state’s 1849 ban be superseded by another law passed in 1985 that would allow abortions before the point of viability.

For months, Michels has campaigned on statements that he would not support exceptions to the state’s abortion ban. At a Dane County Republican event earlier this month, Michels said she would not soften her stance on abortion, despite receiving calls asking her to support the rape and incest exceptions.

“I’m winning because people see a strong leader, a man of conviction, a man who doesn’t beat around the bush, a man who doesn’t waver. I will stick with what I know to be right,” he said on September 6.

Michels’s campaign disputed that he was changing his position, saying he had simply answered a question about how he would handle specific legislation.

Polls have repeatedly shown that most people in Wisconsin support abortion rights, and Wisconsin Democrats have made their support for abortion rights central to their midterm campaigns.

A spokeswoman for the Evers campaign said she doubts Michels’ views have changed.

“Tim Michels has told us what he believes over and over again, even promising earlier this month that he would not soften his dangerous views on abortion. We know he was telling us the truth for the past two decades as he opposed constantly to these exceptions”. Evers spokeswoman Kayla Anderson said.

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