Deadline extended in lawsuit against 1849 abortion law, AG Kaul expects response this month

NOW: Deadline extended in lawsuit against 1849 abortion law, AG Kaul expects response this month

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- The fate of abortion care in Wisconsin will be delayed a little longer after a key deadline in the state's lawsuit was extended.

The defendants -three Republican lawmakers- will now have an extra week to respond to the complaint.

The governor and attorney general filed the lawsuit seven weeks ago and now there's an extension.

Attorney General Josh Kaul says it's common to ask for an extension. But as thousands of Wisconsin women and families know, every day could matter.

Attorney General Kaul said, "I want to get clarity as quickly as possible and hopefully restore access to safe and legal abortion in Wisconsin."

Attorney General Kaul said Monday he still expects to have a response from legislators this month.

When the lawsuit against the 1849 abortion ban was first announced back in June, doctors made it clear what was at stake.

On June 28, Dr. Kristin Lyerly, an abortion care provider, said, "Making abortion illegal will not stop abortion but it will cause women, families, and communities to suffer."

In Milwaukee that day, Governor Evers vowed to fight like hell for abortion rights. But that fight has already dragged on for nearly two months.

Attorney General Kaul said, "It's important to me that we continue this case moving forward quickly, because right now there is so much uncertainty with the status quo that medical providers don't know what exactly the law is."

Three Republican lawmakers are listed as defendants in the complaint: Assembly Speaker Robin Vos; Senator Devin LeMahieu, the Majority Leader of the Wisconsin Senate; and Senator Chris Kapenga, president of the Wisconsin Senate and co-chair of the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization.

They now have another week to respond to the complaint, and that will determine what happens next.

Attorney General Kaul said, "Once we hear from the defendants here, we'll very soon get into briefing on what the merits of this case are and how it's going to come out."

The defendants can respond to some of the allegations or move to dismiss the case. Kaul expects things to move quickly once their response is filed because he says there is not much dispute of the facts in this case.

Attorney General Kaul said, "We need the courts to weigh in on the law and decide if, in fact, that ban is enforceable, or if, as we are arguing, that the ban can't be enforced and that access to abortion should remain legal."

We reached out to all three lawmakers that are listed as defendants in this case to learn more about the extended deadline and their next steps.

They were either unavailable or did not respond.

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