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Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Sues To Restore Medication Abortion In The State

Jessica Mason Pieklo

A new lawsuit challenges Wisconsin Act 217, a law designed to regulate the use of RU-486 out of existence.  

On Tuesday Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin filed suit in federal district court in an attempt to resume access to medication abortion in the state.

The lawsuit comes eight months after anti-choice legislators in the state passed Wisconsin Act 217, the “Coercive and Webcam Abortion Prevention Act.” The law heavily regulates the use of RU-486 and exposes providers to criminal liability for failure to follow a law so vague compliance is nearly impossible.

The defendants are Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, the state’s district attorneys and the Medical Examining Board who are charged with enforcing the law.

The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the bill, arguing the requirements are unlawfully vague because the law does not clearly spell out what a doctor must do in order to satisfy all components of the bill. Planned Parenthood stopped offering medication abortions in April once the law took effect. As a result, women in Wisconsin now must undergo a more invasive surgical abortion should they need to terminate a pregnancy because surgical abortions can’t be performed in the early weeks of a pregnancy.

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Jenni Dye, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin, explained the need for the lawsuit to Rewire.

“Policy affecting medical decisions should always put patients’ needs and evidenced-based medical care front and center” Dye said. “The law put in place by Wisconsin’s anti-choice legislature does neither. Rather, it criminalizes evidence-based medical care that does not meet vague standards determined by politicians, not doctors. This suit is an essential step in fighting to ensure that medical decisions are made between a woman and her doctor.”

Officials for the state of Wisconsin have not yet responded to the suit.

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