Abortions to Resume at Clinics in Wisconsin After Ruling

Opponents argue state's ban remains in place
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 14, 2023 3:50 PM CDT
Abortions to Resume at Clinics in Wisconsin After Ruling
Abortion rights demonstrators protest outside the state Capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, in May 2022.   (Amber Arnold/Wisconsin State Journal via AP)

Planned Parenthood announced Thursday that it will resume offering abortions in Wisconsin next week after a judge ruled that an 1849 law that seemingly banned the procedure actually didn't apply to abortions. The resumption of abortions Monday at clinics in Milwaukee and Madison comes as the lawsuit challenging the state law continues in county court. It is expected to eventually reach the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which flipped to liberal control on Aug. 1, the AP reports. Clinics across the state stopped offering abortions following the US Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade in June 2022.

Until then, Wisconsin's decades-old statutes—interpreted to outlaw abortion in all cases except to save a mother's life—were effectively nullified by the 1973 Roe ruling providing a right to abortion nationwide. Democrats in the state, including Gov. Tony Evers, used abortion access as a central focus of their reelection victories in 2022. State Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz, whose win in April gave liberals the majority for the first time in 15 years, ran as a supporter of abortion rights. Evers hailed Planned Parenthood's decision to resume abortions.

"This is critically 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," Evers said in a statement. Abortions were available at three Planned Parenthood clinics in Wisconsin prior to the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe. A spokesperson said staffing levels allow for two clinics to do so now but the organization hopes to return to its former availability. Julaine Appling, president of the anti-abortion group Wisconsin Family Action, called the move "audacious" and said the state ban remains in effect. "No court has ruled that it is not enforceable," Appling said.

(More abortion debate stories.)

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