Planned Parenthood is trying to expand abortions in Wisconsin by challenging a state law that requires licensed physicians to do them.
On Monday, the abortion chain argued its case in front of federal Judge William Conley, claiming the law makes it harder for poor and rural women to abort their unborn babies in Wisconsin.
“We cannot overstate how significant this case is,” said Kristen Nupson, legislative director of Wisconsin Right to Life. “The physician-only law exists to protect women. Why is Planned Parenthood fighting against the protection of women?”
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin filed the lawsuit in 2019 challenging three state pro-life laws, including the requirement that licensed physicians do abortions. The other two laws require that a woman see the same physician for her informed consent visit and the abortion procedure and that the physician to be physically present when giving the patient abortion drugs, Wisconsin Public Radio reports.
Without the laws, Planned Parenthood could expand abortions from four facilities to 26 facilities across the state, according to the pro-life organization. And instead of doctors, nurse practitioners and midwives would be allowed to abort unborn babies by prescribing abortion pills – potentially without ever seeing the patient in person.
According to Wisconsin Right to Life, Planned Parenthood is pushing these chemical, or medication, abortions, because they are cheaper and easier to perform. Wisconsin Public Radio also noted that the abortion chain does not have any full-time doctors who do abortions in the state; all of its abortionists work part-time.
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“It has been heartbreaking and disappointing to watch today’s trial unfold,” Nupson said. “Thousands of human lives are at stake, and yet these Planned Parenthood executives shroud their intentions by making abortion seem like any other medical procedure. Abortion isn’t health care; it cannot be compared to a biopsy or a birth control procedure. Abortion, whether chemical or surgical, takes the life of a human being.”
During the hearing Monday, Planned Parenthood attorney Lori Day argued that the laws make it difficult for women to get abortions especially if they are poor or live in a rural area, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
However, Assistant Attorney General Brian Keenan countered that the laws are constitutional, and thousands of women have abortions in Wisconsin every year, according to the report.
Here’s more from the Journal Sentinel:
The laws are being defended by the office of Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat who was endorsed by an arm of Planned Parenthood.
Republican lawmakers questioned whether he would fully defend the laws and sought to intervene in the case. Conley declined to let them last year, saying Kaul had not faltered in arguing in favor of the laws. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the decision to keep GOP lawmakers out of the case, at least for now.
Tanya Atkinson, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, admitted that expanding abortions is their goal.
“It’s our responsibility, and we are always looking for ways to ensure people have access to the health care they need,” Atkinson said. “Part of that means that if we prevail in this lawsuit, we could expand (abortion) access to other parts of the state.”
The hearing continues this week.
If the abortion chain wins in court, women’s lives as well as their unborn babies’ could be in jeopardy.
One study found that abortions done by non-physicians were twice as likely to have complications as those done by licensed physicians.
Abortion drugs also can be deadly to the mother as well as her unborn baby. The abortion drug mifepristone has been linked to at least 24 women’s deaths and thousands of serious complications. Risks of mifepristone and misoprostol, the most common abortion drugs taken together to abort and then expel an unborn baby from the womb, include excessive bleeding, severe abdominal pain, infection and hemorrhage.
Nationally, Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion chain in the U.S. It reported more than 345,000 abortions and a $1.6 billion revenue in its latest annual report.