Madison, Wisconsin — Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has refiled a lawsuit in an attempt to overturn a Wisconsin law that regulates medication-induced abortions in the state.
The abortion provider first filed suit against the government in federal court last year after a new law was passed that required abortionists to first determine whether or not the woman is being pressured or coerced into having an abortion, and bans the practice of webcam medication-induced abortions. Webcam abortions occur in some states as a way for abortionists to simply talk to a woman through the computer about her pill-based abortion rather than coming in for a physical exam.
Planned Parenthood decided to stop offering medicinal abortions altogether because of the statute, which had previously been made available to women who were up to 9 weeks pregnant — just over two months in gestation. However, abortion-minded mothers could still obtain a surgical abortion instead of taking pills, such as RU-486.
In a medicinal abortion, the growing baby is expelled out of the uterus and is usually birthed in the toilet and disposed of as waste.
During the course of the federal lawsuit, Planned Parenthood challenged that Wisconsin’s Coercive and Web Cam Abortion Prevention Act was vague and that it wrongfully criminalized abortionists for assisting with distance abortions.
“The added risks of felony penalties for physicians who provide medication abortion are unnecessary and intended to threaten a physician’s ability to provide women with medication abortion,” commented Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin president Terri Huyck. “The passage of Act 217 was only supported by special interest groups that don’t provide any medical care and whose only goal is to outlaw all abortion in Wisconsin, including Pro-Life Wisconsin, Wisconsin Right to Life and the Wisconsin Catholic Conference.”
However, when the organization clarified to the court its stance on its concerns, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb told Planned Parenthood that the case would no longer fall under her jurisdiction if Planned Parenthood did not assert any constitutional claims. Therefore, the abortion provider recently decided to withdraw its federal lawsuit and refile in state court.
“[We want] to restore a woman’s access safe and legal comprehensive reproductive care and to put this decision back where it belongs – in a woman’s hands, in consultation with her family and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor,” the lawsuit states.
However, Wisconsin Right to Life notes that webcam abortions have been found to be dangerous to women’s health.
“The Food and Drug Administration has reported over 2,200 adverse incidents since 2000 from use of abortion-inducing drugs, including the deaths of 14 women,” it reports. “With the advent of webcam abortions, now taking place at Planned Parenthood clinics in Iowa and Minnesota, instead of this close supervision, women discuss their abortion over a webcam without a physical exam by a doctor.”
Due to budget cuts in the state, Planned Parenthood is reportedly closing four of its locations this year, and leaving open 23. Not all of its facilities perform abortions.