MADISON — Republicans running for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin support banning abortion with no exceptions and new restrictions on stem cell research, based on their answers to a candidate survey that won them a perfect rating from the group Pro-Life Wisconsin.
The Wisconsin State Journal reports that both Kevin Nicholson and state Sen. Leah Vukmir told the group they also support a federal "personhood" law that critics say would criminalize certain forms of birth control.
Pro-Life Wisconsin gave both Nicholson and Vukmir perfect "100 percent" ratings. The winner of the Aug. 14 primary will face Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin, who supports abortion rights. Baldwin has a 100-percent rating on the scorecard of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the nation's biggest provider of reproductive health services, including birth control and abortion.
Nicholson is a management consultant from Delafield and a former Democrat who once supported abortion rights. The survey gives the fullest view yet of how his views on abortion have changed since he headed the national College Democrats in 2000. Vukmir has a long record of voting against abortion rights over her 15 years in the Legislature, including Wisconsin's 20-week abortion ban.
Pro-Life Wisconsin spokesman Matt Sande said both Nicholson and Vukmir answered "yes" when asked on the survey if they would vote:
— To ban abortion "in all cases." Such a stance would not permit exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, or that threaten the life of the mother.
— For a so-called "personhood" bill to extend constitutional protections to every "pre-born human person." Such a bill, according to the survey, would say "the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent ... at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood."
— For certain restrictions on stem cells used for medical research, including banning the use of "stem cells extracted from human embryos."
— For amending federal law to prohibit "direct taxpayer funding of elective abortions, the subsidization of private plans that cover abortion and mandatory coverage of contraception."