Planned Parenthood continues its fight for patients seeking safe and legal abortion

Abortion remains available in Wisconsin

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit denied the State of Wisconsin’s request to lift the preliminary injunction on Act 37.

The blocked provision contained in Act 37 would have required all abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, forcing many doctors to immediately stop providing abortion and denying thousands of women access to safe care.

In responding to the state’s request to remove the injunction, U.S. Circuit Judge Posner stated that, “There was no way the deadline (to comply with the law) could have been met even if the two days hadn’t been weekend days.”

Further, Judge Posner questioned the Legislature’s focus on only requiring abortion providers to secure admitting privileges when so many other riskier surgeries take place without the same requirement. Posner stated,“An issue of equal protection of the laws is lurking in this case.

For the state seems indifferent to complications from non-hospital procedures other than surgical abortion (especially other gynecological procedures), even when they are more likely to produce complications.”

With the injunction in place, women will continue to access safe and legal abortion in the four remaining facilities located in Milwaukee, Madison and Appleton while Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin continues its legal challenge to the admitting privileges requirement.

“This ruling is a positive step for the women of Wisconsin and in line with the views of the medical community who oppose Act 37 because of the risks it poses to women’s health,” stated Teri Huyck, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.

“We are confident that the Court will ultimately rule that Act 37 is an unconstitutional restriction on the ability of Wisconsin women to access safe and legal abortions.”

Act 37 is opposed by the medical community, including theWisconsin Medical Society and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, because it does nothing to enhance the health and safety of women seeking abortion.

The law’s mandate that all doctors who provide abortion have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles does not enhance women’s safety and is a tactic being used by women’s health opponents to shut down abortion providers in state legislatures across the country.

No other outpatient procedure in Wisconsin requires doctors to have hospital admitting privileges.

On November 15, 2013, the Wisconsin Medical Society and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists filed an amicus brief with the Seventh Circuit.

They stated that abortion is a safe and necessary medical procedure.

Nothing in the legislative or court records demonstrate any safety concerns with abortion services in Wisconsin.

In addition, the requirement that doctors have admitting privileges within a 30 mile radius is arbitrary.

Finally, WMS and ACOG stated that “admitting privileges is out of step with the modern model of medical care where hospitals employ specialists that care for patients once they are admitted.”

In issuing the preliminary injunction,U.S. District Judge William M. Conley concluded, “On this record, the admitting privileges requirement is a solution in search of a problem,” and continued,“Devoid of any documentation of a medical need or purpose in Wisconsin, the Governor nevertheless signed the Act on July 5, 2013.”

Act 37 was opposed by the medical community because it does nothing to enhance the health and safety of women seeking abortion.

Although abortion is just a small piece of the overall health care Planned Parenthood provides, it is a critical component of comprehensive reproductive health services.

Consistent, peer-reviewed evidence demonstrates that when abortion services are restricted or inaccessible, women’s health and lives are put at risk.

“Every day the health care professionals at Planned Parenthood are here to provide women with the full range of services they need to stay healthy and plan their families.” continued Huyck.

“Restricting access to abortion does nothing to decrease the need for abortion.

It just makes abortion more dangerous and puts women’s health and lives at risk. We firmly believe that women- not politicians- should make their own decision about their pregnancies.”

While this current litigation challenges this specific unconstitutional attack on women’s access to safe and legal abortion, the attacks on women’s health care access have not stopped.

In July, a proposed Constitutional amendment was unveiled which could outlaw all access to safe, legal abortion, birth control, in vitro fertilization and stem cell research.

This latest attack comes after an unprecedented number of bills that have been passed, introduced and / or moved through the Republican-controlled legislature that restrict women’s access to reproductive health care.

“For 78 years, Planned Parenthood health centers in Wisconsin have prioritized women’s health and safety by providing high quality, nonjudgmental healthcare to women,” concluded Huyck.

“We look forward to resolving this case so we can continue to provide our patients with access to safe and legal health services as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.”