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Politics & Government

Wisconsin's Abortion Battle In Line With Other States

Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

A judge has placed a hold on one of Wisconsin’s new abortion rules.

It cannot take effect, at least until a hearing next week. The law requires doctors performing abortions to have hospital admitting privileges in the area.

Not long after Gov. Walker signed the bill last week, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin sued.

Nicole Safar is the group’s public policy director. She says if its abortion providers need hospital admitting privileges, Planned Parenthood would have to close two of its health centers. So it’s challenging the law’s constitutionality.

“The state isn’t allowed to place an undue burden on women to access abortion services especially if there is not a medically legitimate reason to do so,” Safar says.

Safar says she’s confident the courts will eventually overturn Wisconsin’s new rule.

Republican Rep. Andre Jacque co-sponsored it. He says the federal judge’s order was not surprising – given President Obama appointed him. Yet Jacque says quite a few states are continuing to push back against Roe v. Wade, by enacting laws similar to Wisconsin’s.

“Nationally we’ve heard of some pretty horrific episodes of what happens as a result of complications from abortion so I think this is a very reasonable standard to apply,” Jacque says.

Wisconsin is one of 30 states to adopt abortion restrictions since 2011, according to Elizabeth Nash. She’s policy director at the Guttmacher Institute in New York City. It studies reproductive health issues.

“What happened is the 2010 elections put very conservative candidates into state legislatures, not just in Wisconsin but across the country and also very conservative candidates became governor,” Nash says.

Yet Nash predicts court battles over abortion in Wisconsin and across the country could go on for years because of the emotional nature of the issue.

By the way, the judge’s restraining order here does not affect another part of Wisconsin’s new law. It requires women to have an ultrasound before an abortion. Planned Parenthood says at some point, it will likely challenge the constitutionality of the ultrasound mandate, as well.