(AP) — Wisconsin Gov.-elect Scott Walker says the state is “going to take its constitutional responsibilities seriously” in the wake of the death of a pregnant inmate in a prison.
Walker’s remarks Monday in Madison came hours after his campaign announced it had agreed to pay the family of a prisoner killed in solitary confinement to sue over her death.
Walker is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at a memorial service for the woman on Tuesday evening.
Walker says that “this is a serious matter and we have to take it seriously.”
The governor’s remarks came after his spokesman released a statement saying that the governor would not be commenting further on the case.
The death of Kari Ann Taylor, a former prison inmate who was killed on Jan. 12 in a Wisconsin prison, has become a major national story.
In his speech Monday, Walker said he’s “concerned about the state of Wisconsin and its ability to comply with its responsibilities” under the U.S. Constitution.
He called for the elimination of abortion in the state, a common-sense measure that the Wisconsin GOP has long supported.
Wisconsin Gov-elect Scott Scott Walker speaks to supporters during a rally at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on Jan 26, 2019.
“I believe we need to be clear about what we’re going to do, and I think we need some clarity from the governor on that,” Walker said.
“If we’re not going to eliminate abortion, we need a way to do it that is consistent with the constitutional responsibility to the unborn.”
Walker says he believes “we should make sure that we protect women in Wisconsin, but that we do it responsibly and that’s what we are trying to do here.”
A lawyer for Taylor’s family told The Associated Press that it was prepared to sue the state.
It also said it was seeking damages for pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress.
Walker did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
Walker, a Republican, has called for stricter gun control measures in the face of a deadly shooting spree at a Wisconsin movie theater last week.
He has said that he would not support legislation that would restrict the sale of guns.
The Wisconsin Supreme Court is considering a challenge to the law, saying it violates the state constitution’s ban on the establishment of religion.
The governor and the state’s attorney general have argued that the state has the right to ban firearms and that the Supreme Court decision should be interpreted narrowly.
A court hearing in the case is set for Feb. 10.
The U. S. Supreme Court last month said the state could not ban the sale and manufacture of handguns in the event of a state of emergency.
The high court said that the constitutional provision bars a state from establishing a “public policy” that “would restrict a person’s right to own or possess a firearm.”
The case comes after a gunman killed 14 people at a Florida movie theater on Dec. 2.
That gunman, identified as Elliot Rodger, had pledged to kill as many people as he could before killing himself.