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Planned Parenthood Wisconsin pauses abortions following Supreme Court ruling

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Posted at 10:21 AM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-24 18:47:48-04

WISCONSIN — Planned Parenthood said it will pause abortions until it gets clarification from courts regarding whether or not Wisconsin's abortion law is enforceable.

On Friday, the Supreme Court announced its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. The decision came in a case about Mississippi’s abortion law, Dobbs v. Jackson, which sought to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

With Friday’s decision, abortion laws in Wisconsin revert back to a law established in 1849. That law criminalizes most abortions unless the doctors determine the mother's life is at risk.

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Planned Parenthood had already planned on pausing abortions beginning Saturday, June 25.

The organization has three clinics in Wisconsin that offer abortions. One is in Sheboygan, one in Milwaukee, and one in Madison.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin President and CEO Tanya Atkinson said her organization immediately felt the ruling's impact.

"We had to go out to those individuals in our waiting room and say, we're so sorry," Atkinson said. "That decision that you made for yourself, for your family, for your future, is no longer your decision to make here in Wisconsin."

She clarified Planned Parenthood centers in Wisconsin remain open to provide resources, financial assistance and travel help for patients who need to seek abortions in states where it remains legal.

Advocates stressed the hardships so many women in Wisconsin will face.

"Those without money, childcare, other resources, or the ability to take time off from work will not be so fortunate," said Michelle Velasquez, the director of legal advocacy and services of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. "Maybe they will try an unsafe method of abortion, and come to physical harm or even die. Maybe they will undergo pregnancy and have a child, but at significant personal and family cost."

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, there were 6,430 reported abortions in 2020.

Meanwhile, those who have fought to overturn Roe v. Wade for decades welcomed Friday's ruling.

"We're not taking our foot off the gas, we're going full steam ahead," said Anna DeMeuse, the communications director of Pro-Life Wisconsin. "Continuing to build that culture of life here in Wisconsin. And what that looks like is first, enforcement of our pre-Roe criminal statute."

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul stated Friday he will not enforce the state's 1849 abortion law.

DeMeuse says her organization still has a lot of work to do, including continuing to offer women resources when faced with pregnancy.

"We have emergency housing grants to pay for rent, we will pay for food for women," DeMeuse said. "Whatever a woman needs to be empowered to choose life, we'll make that happen for her."

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