MADISON, Wis. — Planned Parenthood announced Thursday that it would resume offering abortions in Wisconsin next week after a judge ruled that an 1849 law that ostensibly banned the procedure did not actually apply to abortions.
The resumption of abortions Monday at clinics in Milwaukee and Madison comes as the lawsuit challenging the state law continues in county court. This decision is expected to ultimately make its way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which switched to liberal control on August 1.
Abortion clinics across the state stopped providing abortions following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June 2022.
Wisconsin Democrats, including Gov. Tony Evers, have used abortion access as a central goal of their 2022 re-election bid. State Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz, whose victory in April gave the majority for the Liberals for the first time in 15 years, presented herself as a candidate. supporter of the right to abortion.
Evers praised the decision.
“This is critically important news for Wisconsin women and patients across our state who, for a year now, have been unable to access the health care they need, when and where they need it,” he said in a statement.
Julaine Appling, president of the anti-abortion group Wisconsin Family Action, called the move “bold” and said the state’s ban remains in effect.
“No court has found this measure unenforceable,” Appling said. “In most cases, it is still illegal for anyone to perform an abortion in Wisconsin. So what the governor and Planned Parenthood are doing is promoting illegal activity. Unfortunately, this illegal activity takes lives because it is the intentional killing of an unborn child.
Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul filed a lawsuit in Dane County days after Roe v. Wade, seeking to repeal the ban.
Kaul argues that the ban is too old to be enforced and that a 1985 law allowing abortions before a fetus can survive outside the womb supersedes the ban. Three doctors later joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs, saying they feared being sued for performing abortions.
Dane County Circuit Judge Diane Schlipper ruled in June that Wisconsin’s 173-year-old abortion ban prohibits killing fetuses but does not apply to consensual medication abortions. His ruling, a victory for those fighting the ban, indicates that the legal language of the 1849 law does not use the term “abortion,” so it only prohibits attacking a woman with the aim of killing her child. to be born.
“With the Court’s recent confirmation that there is no enforceable ban on abortion in Wisconsin, our staff can now provide full sexual and reproductive health care to anyone in Wisconsin who has it. need, whatever happens”, Tanya Atkinson, President. of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, said in a statement Thursday.
Democratic Wisconsin Senate Minority Leader Melissa Agard echoed comments from other Democrats who welcomed the decision, but said “we have a tremendous amount of work to do here in Wisconsin to ensure that the right women’s choice is protected and codified in perpetuity.
Associated Press writer Harm Venhuizen contributed to this report.