Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) is in federal court today challenging several medically unnecessary abortion restrictions. These restrictions unconstitutionally limit access to abortion care in Wisconsin.
The federal lawsuit challenges several provisions of Wisconsin law that hinder the health and safety of patients. With abortion care available in only three cities in Wisconsin and more than a dozen state laws restricting access to abortion care, patients seeking abortion care face some of the most severe barriers to access in the nation.
Abortion is safe and complications are extremely rare. Delays in accessing care only increase the burden on patients, who are forced to travel great distances, increasing cost and time away from work and their family obligations.
This lawsuit challenges three Wisconsin restrictions that unconstitutionally limit access to care:
- The Physician-Only Restriction: This restriction blocks qualified Advanced Practice Clinicians, including Nurse Practitioners and Certified Nurse Midwives from providing abortion care, even though they offer this care safely in other states. In Wisconsin, Advanced Practice Clinicians routinely provide care identical treatment and care to patients experiencing early pregnancy loss (often called a miscarriage.)
- The Same-Physician Restriction: People seeking abortion care in Wisconsin must make two separate trips to the health center, at least twenty-four hours apart, under state law. The Same-Physician restriction uniquely requires women seeking medication abortion care (or a “pill abortion”) to see the same physician for both state-mandated visits. This requirement is contrary to medical care norms, where patients are often treated by a team of providers. Because of the two-visit requirement, this additional restriction can delay care, forcing patients to delay care until the same physician is available for both visits.
- The Physical-Presence Restriction: This restriction uniquely bans the use of telemedicine in abortion care. It prevents patients seeking a mediation abortion from completing the second state-mandated appointment closer to home. This restriction requires the physician who prescribed the drug that begins a medication abortion to be physically present when the patient is handed the pills, despite no medical justification. Ninety-six percent of Wisconsin counties have no abortion provider and sixty-seven percent of Wisconsin women live in those counties. This law forces women to travel farther to get the care they need.
Statement from Tanya Atkinson, President and CEO of PPWI:
“Deciding to start a family, delay becoming a parent, or ending a pregnancy are some of the most personal decisions a woman could make. PPWI is challenging these restrictions because they interfere with a woman’s ability to make her own health care decisions and make it more difficult to access the care she needs.
“At Planned Parenthood, we trust women to make their own health care decisions and we are unwavering in our commitment to protect access to safe, expert health care and information without judgment. Planned Parenthood will never give up on our patients. Every person deserves the freedom to decide when and if to start a family and we all deserve access to the health care and information we need.”
PPWI is being represented by attorneys from Pines Bach LLP and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Attorneys from Jenner & Block LLP are also representing PPWI on a pro bono basis.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is a nonprofit health care provider serving 60,000 patients annually at 24 health centers. Planned Parenthood provides the full range of comprehensive reproductive health care including well woman exams, breast and cervical cancer screening