If SB 206 is approved, it would require the state’s abortion clinics to obtain admitting privileges from a hospital within 30 miles. On Monday, a GOP-controlled Senate health committee approved the measure with a 3-2 vote along party lines. It now heads to the full Senate, which could vote on it as early as Thursday. If the Wisconsin legislature successfully pushes SB 206 through, Planned Parenthood will be forced to close the clinic that it currently operates in Appleton, WI.
Planned Parenthood’s Nicole Safar explained that the Appleton clinic wouldn’t be able to get admitting privileges quickly enough before the law would take effect. “If this bill passes in the time frame they are proposing, we are closing the doors,” Safar said in reference to the organization’s Appleton location.
Although Republican lawmakers claim that requiring admitting privileges is an important way to make sure that health clinics are providing safe care to women, it’s actually a burdensome regulation that forces abortion clinics across the country to shut down. A similar law in Mississippi has threatened to force the state’s only remaining abortion clinic to close its doors. When Mississippi’s last clinic tried to apply for admitting privileges, it was denied by seven different hospitals. In April, a federal judge intervened, ruling that the unnecessary rule has nothing to do with women’s safety and shouldn’t go into effect in the state.
Wisconsin has launched several serious attacks on women’s health over the past several years. Anti-abortion lawmakers excluded Planned Parenthood from the state funding during the last budget cycle, a move that forced the national women’s health organization to close four of its clinics in rural Wisconsin. State lawmakers have also imposed unnecessary restrictions on the abortion pill that make it more difficult for women to have first-trimester medication abortions. And SB 206 isn’t just about over-regulating abortion clinics — it also contains a provision that would force women to have a mandatory ultrasound before being allowed to receive abortion care, a thinly-veiled attempt to convince women to change their minds about ending a pregnancy.