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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Tyler Katzenberger Planned Parenthood building Madison East.JPG
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin's location at 3706 Orin Road on Madison's east side.

Planned Parenthood urges Wisconsin Supreme Court to rule abortion ban unconstitutional

Planned Parenthood filed a legal petition to the Wisconsin Supreme Court to ask for the state constitution to protect the right to abortion in Wisconsin.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) filed a petition to the Wisconsin Supreme Court on Feb. 22 asking justices to interpret Wisconsin’s constitution in a way which protects bodily autonomy and abortion. 

PPWI’s petition was a complement to Kaul v. Urmanski, a case initiated by state Attorney General Josh Kaul in 2022 that resulted in restored access to abortion care in Wisconsin in a September ruling from the Dane County Circuit Court. 

Kaul filed a petition on Feb. 27 asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to bypass the Court of Appeals.

“We are incredibly grateful for Attorney General Kaul’s leadership on that important case, which restored access to abortion care in Wisconsin last September, and we hope to continue building on that important progress,” PPWI Chief Strategy Officer Michelle Velasquez said in a Feb. 22 press release. 

The 1849 law was reinstated in 2022 after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned federally guaranteed abortion rights. However, PPWI resumed abortion services at three clinics across Wisconsin in September after Dane County Judge Diane Schlipper ruled Wisconsin's 1849 abortion law does not prohibit consensual medical abortions. 

“There is no such thing as an '1849 abortion ban' in Wisconsin. A physician who performs a consensual medical abortion commits a crime only after the fetus or unborn child reaches viability,” Schlipper wrote in her decision.

PPWI filed the petition to the circuit court to consider whether or not the state constitution protects an individual's right to abortion, said Analiese Eicher, PPWI communications director. 

Eicher cited Article I, Section I of the Wisconsin Constitution, which guarantees life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the basis for the petition. She said one of those inherent rights is “the right to bodily autonomy.”

“We think that they should be considering our question as to whether or not our state constitution protects the right to abortion care and the right for providers to provide that care,” Eicher said.

Velasquez said in the press release that protections afforded under Wisconsin’s constitution remain unknown despite a court decision to resume abortion care. 

Additionally, PPWI President Tanya Atkinson said in a public service announcement that Wisconsinites should be able to choose when they want to become a parent. 

“This work is grounded in the shared value that each of us deserves,” Atkins said. “The ability to make deeply personal decisions about what is best for our own health and lives with support and guidance from the people we trust.”

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PPWI has 22 health centers across the center providing services including STI testing, birth control access, pap smears, vasectomies, cancer screenings and gender-affirming hormone therapy. 

“Because of so many across our state who have raised their voices and taken action, we are able to take this important next step in protecting the constitutional right to abortion in the state of Wisconsin,” Atkins said.

State Supreme Court justices have not yet signaled whether they plan to take up the petition.

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Marin Rosen

Marin Rosen is the City News Editor at The Daily Cardinal and a second-year journalism student. Throughout her time at the Cardinal, she's written articles for city and state news. Follow her on Twitter at @marin_rosen

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