Two clinics have resumed offering abortions in Wisconsin after all clinics in the state stopped offering abortions following the landmark Dobbs decision last year because.
Two Milwaukee Planned Parenthood clinics resumed offering abortions on September 18. Spokespersons for the clinics said that within 24 hours, all available appointment slots were filled.
Immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Dobbs v. Jackson’s Women’s Health Clinic that the Constitution did not guarantee a woman’s right to an abortion, reversing the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide, all abortion clinics in Wisconsin stopped offering the procedure out of fear of violating an existing state law from 1849.
“The willful killing of an unborn quick child by any injury to the mother of such child, which would be murder if it resulted in the death of such mother, shall be deemed manslaughter in the first degree,” reads the 1849 law.
However, on July 7th, 2023 Dane County Circuit Court Judge Diane Schlipper issued a preliminary ruling in an ongoing trial concerning the 1849 law. She said that the law only applies when somebody attacks a pregnant woman and the unborn child is killed, not when the mother gives her consent to have her child killed.
“In consultation with attorneys, physicians, partners, and stakeholders, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is confident in our decision to resume abortion care in Wisconsin,” Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin CEO Tanya Atkinson said in a video announcement.
A week after Planned Parenthood resumed abortions, Wisconsin pro-life advocates held a press conference condemning the clinics’ actions. Heather Weininger, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, called on local authorities to prosecute Planned Parenthood.
“Planned Parenthood is blatantly performing an illegal act here in Wisconsin. By performing abortions both in Milwaukee and Madison, they have been breaking the law for one week and one day,” said Weininger. “Yet, they know full well they are not in danger of being prosecuted since District Attorneys [Ismael] Ozanne and [John] Chisohlm have said they will not prosecute anyone who performs abortions in their counties.”
The 1849 law has been at the center of a contentious legal dispute since Roe was overturned in June 2022. Immediately after the Supreme Court’s decision, Wisconsin’s attorney general, Josh Kaul, sued in an attempt to overturn the 1849 law.
Since then, the lawsuit has worked its way through the Wisconsin courts. Currently, the case is in the Dane County court, and will soon go before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, where liberals hold a 4-3 majority.
In the meantime, the Wisconsin pro-life movement has said that it will continue to fight to keep the 1849 law and advocate that Planned Parenthood be held accountable for its actions.
“Violence begins in the womb and can end today,” said Weininger. “If District Attorneys Ozanne and Chisohlm do their job and ensure prosecution of abortionists in their county is enforced, then we will save lives.”