Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) announced today that they will be forced to end distribution of all medication abortions — known as the abortion pill — because of a new law just enacted that has too many gray areas and makes it too legally risky for the organization to continue providing the pill.
The law, Act 217, is part of Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) anti-abortion agenda, aimed at making it harder for a woman to choose an abortion.
“I want to take an opportunity to put this new law into context with what we’ve seen over the last 18 months from Gov. Walker and the Republican legislature,” said Nicole Safar, policy director for PPWI, “This is just one piece of a very anti-woman agenda put in place by this government.”
Specifically, Act 217 changes “informed consent” laws — the process a doctor has to follow before he or she can administer the pill. “Under this new law, women seeking medication abortion would be required to make at least three separate doctor’s vists to the same doctor,” said Terry Huyck, CEO of PPWI. Addtionally, Act 217 creates criminal penalties for providers of medication abortions if they don’t follow the ambiguous legislative restrictions. And the penalties are strict. According to the bill’s language:
Under this bill, a person who gives a woman an abortion-inducing drug in a manner that violates the prohibition is guilty of a Class I felony and may be subject to a civil action. This bill specifies that a penalty may not be assessed against a woman who receives an abortion-inducing drug.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin gives care to about 80,000 a year. Since they will no longer be distributing the pill, it will become significantly harder to access. Women who lose the option of the abortion pill will be forced to have a surgical abortion — a more invasive procedure that can carry greater medical risks for some.