Scott Walker and abortion

Some anti-abortion advocates were angered by remarks Gov. Scott Walker made during a March 1, 2015 interview on "Fox News Sunday."
Some anti-abortion advocates were angered by remarks Gov. Scott Walker made during a March 1, 2015 interview on "Fox News Sunday."

Gov. Scott Walker’s surprise announcement on March 3, 2015 that he would seek to ban abortions after 20 weeks raised anew questions about where exactly the Wisconsin Republican stands on the procedure -- particularly in light of his position as a potential candidate for the White House in 2016.

For decades, going back to before his time as a Wisconsin state lawmaker, Walker has been staunchly anti-abortion. But in his 2014 re-election campaign, running against Democrat Mary Burke, he released a TV ad in which he referred to legislation he signed that "leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor."

On March 1, 2015, a portion of that ad was played during an interview Walker did on "Fox News Sunday." Host Chris Wallace then asked Walker about his views, and Walker’s response drew criticism from anti-abortion advocates.

Two days later, Walker’s campaign issued an open letter with the surprise announcement.

In the letter, Walker said that "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. I will sign that bill when it gets to my desk and support similar legislation on the federal level."

To fill in some of the background on all of this, we’ll summarize here three items we’ve done on Walker and abortion.

Fact check, October 2010: "Tom Barrett says Scott Walker wants to ban abortion, even in cases of rape and incest"

Our rating: True.

Barrett, a Democrat and the Milwaukee mayor, was Walker’s opponent in the 2010 gubernatorial election.

Walker acknowledged that that was his position on abortion.

Article, October 2014: "Dueling TV ads take on Scott Walker’s position on abortion"

These ads were produced in the final weeks of the the 2014 campaign.

One ad was produced by EMILY’s List, the national political action committee that raises money to elect Democratic women who support abortion rights to office. It cited Walker’s opposition to abortion in all cases and criticized him for signing a 2013 bill that requires women seeking abortions to get ultrasounds and requires doctors who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges.

Walker responded with his own ad -- the one that stirred discontent among anti-abortion advocates after the "Fox News Sunday" interview. He alluded in the ad to the 2013 legislation, saying it increases safety for, and provides more information to, a woman considering "her options." But the law, he noted, "leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor."

Fact check, October 2014: "EMILY’s List: Scott Walker is forcing some women to get transvaginal ultrasounds to get an abortion"

We rated this claim Half True.

The law doesn’t mandate transvaginal ultrasounds, rather it says a woman seeking an abortion can choose either a transvaginal or transabdominal ultrasound.

But medical professionals say that the new requirement, as a practical matter, means some women have to get a transvaginal ultrasound.