Planned Parenthood to resume abortions in Madison, Milwaukee

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin resuming abortion service Monday at two clinics in Madison and Milwaukee.
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 11:11 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 10:43 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin will begin offering abortion services in Madison and Milwaukee Monday, the agency revealed.

“The ability to provide abortion services in Wisconsin again is crucial to being able to address the full scope of care for our patients,” its Associate Medical Director Allie Linton said.

Planned Parenthood will offer the procedure at its locations in at the Madison East Health Center, in Madison, and at the Water Street Health Center, in Milwaukee. While services will not start until Monday, the agency will begin taking appointments immediately.

“With patients and community as our central priority and driving force, we are eager to resume abortion services and provide this essential care to people in our State,” President and CEO Tanya Atkinson added.

Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers stopped providing the service last year almost immediately after last year’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson that overturned the Roe v. Wade precedent and ended a federal right to abortion that had superseded the 1849 law.

Gov. Tony Evers, who condemned the SCOTUS verdict, welcomed the move by Planned Parenthood, calling it “important news for Wisconsin women and patients across our state who, for a year now, have been unable to access the healthcare they need when and where they need it.”

Arguing that Thursday’s move does not end this round of the battle over abortion in Wisconsin, Evers went on to vow to “fight like hell every day until Wisconsinites have the right to make their own healthcare decisions.”

The anti-abortion group Wisconsin Family Action accused Planned Parenthood of “prioritizing profit over the rule of law,” arguing the 1849 law remains in effect while the lawsuit is ongoing.

In Planned Parenthood’s statement, Atkinson explained that the recent decision by a Dane Co. court that the current 1849 law that many interpreted as banning the procedure in most cases was unenforceable.

In July, Dane County Circuit Judge Diane Schlipper explained in a written ruling denying a motion to dismiss Attorney General Josh Kaul’s lawsuit challenging the ban that she interprets the 1849 law as prohibiting people from killing fetuses by assaulting or battering the mother. The law doesn’t apply to consensual abortion because it doesn’t use the word “abortion.”

“There is no such thing as an `1849 Abortion Ban’ in Wisconsin,” she wrote. A month after her ruling on the motion to dismiss Kaul urged Schlipper to rule quickly on the case as a whole. Kaul has argued that the ban is too old to enforce and that a 1985 law that permits abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb supersedes the ban.

Sheboygan County’s Republican district attorney, Joel Urmanski, contended after Schlipper’s ruling that it’s a stretch to argue that the ban is so old it can no longer be enforced and that the 1985 law and the ban complement each other. Since the newer law outlaws abortions post-viability, it simply gives prosecutors another charging option, he contends.

In August, Justice Janet Protasiewicz was sworn into the Wisconsin Supreme Court, giving the state’s highest court a liberal majority. She had stopped short on the campaign trail of saying how she would rule on a challenge to the 1849 ban but said repeatedly she supports abortion rights.

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