Planned Parenthood to Resume Abortions in Wisconsin Following Court Ruling Against 1849 Ban

Abortion services are set to restart at Planned Parenthood clinics in Milwaukee and Madison on Monday, following a temporary suspension of over a year due to legal uncertainty surrounding a 1849 ban in Wisconsin.

Planned Parenthood is set to resume offering abortion services in Wisconsin next week after a state court determined that a 174-year-old criminal law does not prohibit the procedure. The organization’s Wisconsin chapter announced on Thursday that abortion services will be available again on Monday at their clinics in Milwaukee and Madison. Patients can begin scheduling appointments starting today.

Tanya Atkinson, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Wisconsin, expressed confidence in the decision to resume abortion care in Wisconsin, following consultations with attorneys, physicians, partners, and stakeholders. This move comes after Planned Parenthood temporarily halted abortion services in Wisconsin on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the long-standing 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that had safeguarded abortion as a constitutional right for five decades.

In June 2022, the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate federal constitutional protections for abortion created uncertainty in Wisconsin regarding the potential prosecution of providers under an 1849 law that classified the procedure as manslaughter.

Governor Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul, both Democrats, initiated a lawsuit challenging the 1849 criminal law. In July, a state judge ruled that the 173-year-old law does not prohibit consensual medical abortions but instead targets those who harm a fetus by attacking the mother.

Dane County Circuit Court Judge Diane Schlipper, in her July ruling, rejected a motion filed by a county district attorney to dismiss the case, stating, “This pre-Roe statute says nothing about abortion—there is no such thing as an ‘1849 Abortion Ban’ in Wisconsin.”

The legal battle over the 1849 law is ongoing and is expected to reach the state Supreme Court, where liberals hold a 4-3 majority following Janet Protasiewicz’s April appointment.

In March, Wisconsin Democrats in the state legislature introduced a bill to repeal the 1849 ban, while Republicans maintain a majority in both legislative chambers.

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