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Monday, June 24, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Planned Parenthood|Fights Wisconsin

MADISON, Wisc. (CN) - Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin dismissed its federal lawsuit challenging a state law that criminalizes medication-induced abortion and refiled it in state court.

In a nearly identical lawsuit, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Dr. Fredrik Broekhuizen claim that Wisconsin Act 217 is unconstitutionally vague and sets unlawful rules for medication-induced abortion, imposing felony criminal sanctions and civil liability on medical providers.

Planned Parenthood and the Wisconsin Department of Justice filed an agreement in Federal Court, clarifying their interpretation of Wisconsin Act 217, but U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb said she could not accept the agreement because by avoiding the constitutional issue, the case no longer fell under her jurisdiction.

Planned Parenthood said in a statement: "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 WI Catholic Conference."

It said it went to court "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."

Nonsurgical abortion using the abortion pill is available from a doctor during the first 9 weeks or 63 days of pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood said that in 2011 approximately 45 percent of its Wisconsin patients who wanted to end their pregnancies chose a nonsurgical abortion using medication.

State budget cuts are forcing Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin to close health centers in four cities between April and July this year. Twenty-three Planned Parenthood health centers will remain open in Wisconsin. None provide abortion services. State and federal laws prohibit federal money from being spent on abortion.

"Planned Parenthood worked hard to minimize the impact of those funding cuts on our patients, we are now left with no choice other than to close four health centers. These four health centers provide essential health care services for approximately 2,000 patients," the organization said in a statement.

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