— MILWAUKEE (AP) — Abortion is still legal but getting one in many states will be difficult if laws passed this year are upheld by the courts. In a march through conservative legislatures, anti-abortion Republicans passed a wave of new restrictions that would sharply limit when a woman could terminate a pregnancy and where she could go to do so.
The push brought the anti-abortion movement closer to a key milestone, in which the procedure would become largely inaccessible in the three-fifths of the country controlled by Republicans even if still technically legal under Roe vs. Wade.
But rather than continuing to roll across the GOP heartland in synch with the pro-life movement's plan, the effort may now be hitting a wall. The obstacle comes not from opposing Democrats but from GOP leaders who believe pressing further is a mistake for a party trying to soften its harder edges after election losses last year.
The resisting Republicans include governors and top legislators in more than a half-dozen states, including some of the largest and most politically competitive in the party's 30-state coalition. They are digging in to stop the barrage of abortion proposals, hoping to better cultivate voters not enamored with the GOP's social agenda.
"It's a huge mistake if your ear is not in tune where people are," said Republican state Sen. Dale Schultz in Wisconsin, who is trying to fend off more abortion legislation in the state's GOP-controlled legislature, even though he says he personally supports it. "And we were pushing people too fast. All we're going to do is panic people and this is going to blow up if we don't begin to moderate on some of this stuff."
The Ohio Senate president, Republican Tom Neihaus, blocked a bill in November that would have banned abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy.