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Wis. Planned Parenthood Clinics End Medication Abortion Services Because of New State Law

Wis. Planned Parenthood Clinics End Medication Abortion Services Because of New State Law

April 23, 2012 — Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin has stopped providing medication abortion because of a new state law (SB 306) that took effect on Friday, Reuters reports (O'Brien, Reuters, 4/21).

The law requires a physician to consult in person with a woman before abortion care, rather than via webcam, and to be physically present when administering medication abortion. The law also requires the doctor to meet with the woman privately to ensure she is not being coerced (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/9). Physicians who fail to follow the requirements could face felony charges under the law.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin President and CEO Teri Huyck said the clinics will continue to provide surgical abortion services. About 25% of women who obtain abortion care use medication abortion, which is available through the ninth week of pregnancy and involves taking a regimen of two drugs (Bauer, AP/Miami Herald, 4/20).

Huyck said the law is "ambiguous and difficult to interpret," will interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and could pose significant risks to doctors (Reuters, 4/21). "The added risks of felony penalties for physicians who provide medication abortion are unnecessary and intended to threaten a physician's ability to provide women with medication abortion," she said.

NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin Executive Director Lisa Subeck said the law creates unnecessary and intrusive restrictions. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, a candidate for governor in the state's recall election, said he would work to overturn the law if elected.

Abortion-rights opponents praised Planned Parenthood's announcement (AP/Miami Herald, 4/20).