Thursday, July 17, 2014

Planned Parenthood Wins a Big Victory in State Court

By Lisa Kaiser
women
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Republican Gov. Scott Walker has been horrible on women’s health issues. 

But, fortunately, the courts aren’t complying with his agenda.

The latest strike against Walker’s regressive policies is today’s decision by a state circuit court that Walker and the state Legislature’s ending of medication abortions was illegal.

There are two kinds of abortion—surgical and via medication. Both are safe and effective, but medication abortions are less invasive.

So of course Walker and state Republicans want to make abortion as difficult as possible for the women who choose them. That’s why they ended medication abortions and now require women to get an ultrasound before having a surgical abortion.

Today, a judge agreed with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin that the 2012 law banning medication abortions was unsound. Not only was it vague, but it implied that health care providers that continued to offer medication abortions would be criminally prosecuted.

(Just a reminder here: abortion is legal. Has been for quite a few decades, you know.)

I have no doubt that Walker will appeal this ruling. He’s got to pay back the entities that were part of his criminal scheme—Wisconsin Right to Life and Wisconsin Family Action, both strong opponents of abortion.

But in doing so he’ll alienate the many open-minded and sane men and women who understand that providing legal medical services in the least invasive way is the best thing to do for those who choose those services.

Here’s what Planned Parenthood has to say about today’s decision:

Planned Parenthood Wins Lawsuit Protecting Access to Safe and Legal Early Abortion Using Medication

MADISON, WI— Earlier today, a state court granted Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s motion for a declaratory judgment, which ensures Wisconsin women will continue to access safe and legal medication abortion. On December 12, 2012, Planned Parenthood filed suit against the attorney general and other officials responsible for enforcing Wis. Stat. Sec. 253.105. The lawsuit sought relief from the vague and ambiguous provisions which threatened criminal prosecution of physicians providing medication abortion services.

“At Planned Parenthood, we work every day to make sure women receive the high quality health care they need in a safe, respectful environment- including abortion care,” stated Teri Huyck, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. “Ensuring the health and safety of our patients is central to our mission and fundamental to every person who works at Planned Parenthood.”

Under the terms of the decision, the judge clarified the ambiguity of sec. 253.105. The decision allows Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin to confidently provide safe, non-invasive medication abortion services to women early in pregnancy within the fear of criminal prosecution. This decision ensures women’s ability to make their own personal, complex medical decisions. Women seeking abortion will be able to access medication abortion services after meeting the state-required examination and counseling session with a physician and satisfying the mandated 24-hour waiting period.

“This is a victory for women and their ability to decide which medical procedure is best for their own health and circumstances,” Huyck continued. “The decision recognizes that medical professionals should be trusted to determine the safest and best medical care for their patients. As a leading provider of women’s health care in Wisconsin for almost 80 years, we will continue to provide our patients with the safe and legal health care services they need and deserve.”

Planned Parenthood previously received an injunction from a state court ensuring women’s access to medication abortion at Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin remains in federal court fighting an additional abortion restriction impacting patient safety and threatening women’s legal access to safe and legal abortion under Act 37 that passed last year. Abortions are very safe and the most highly regulated medical service. According to the Center for Disease Control, abortion has a 99% safety record, and studies show that women have less than a 1% rate of complications. There are no medical reasons for these laws.

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