Planned Parenthood Wisconsin fears woman seeking abortion may turn to self-harm

(Joe Ravi / CC BY-SA 3.0 via MGN)
Published: Jun. 24, 2022 at 3:36 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WSAW) - A 173-year-old law is now in effect in Wisconsin after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling striking down its Roe v. Wade decision on Friday.

Wisconsin law, passed in 1849 bans abortion except to save the life of the mother. But whether that law is enforceable is expected to be challenged in court. Still, Planned Parenthood is already operating like it’s illegal and has suspended abortion services.

Planned Parenthood Wisconsin says nearly 70 women had abortion procedures scheduled for Friday and Saturday but that the group instead helped those women make appointments for abortions in neighboring states where it’s legal.

The organization’s Medical Director Cathy King said they’re working with clinics in Minnesota and Illinois to transfer patients from Wisconsin. King says she believes some women will take matters into their own hands. That means buying medications from the internet to terminate a pregnancy or inflicting self-harm.

“Some people will turn to drastic measures and inflict self-harm. And it’s so unnecessary. It’s 2022. People should not have to turn to unsafe methods,” King said during a media briefing on Friday.

The state law from 1849 criminalizes doctors who perform abortions, making it a felony to destroy the life of an unborn child from the time of conception until its birth. It creates an exception for when two doctors agree that the mother’s life is in jeopardy but does not include carveouts for instances of rape or incest.

“Banning abortions will not stop them in Wisconsin or in any other state. What we do know is it will delay access to care and make abortions less safe,” King said.

The ruling does not affect medications to prevent pregnancy, such as birth control pills or emergency contraception like Plan B and Ella. Those medications are meant to be used the day after unprotected sex. It works by blocking fertilization or keeping a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.

Friday, Planned Parenthood leaders said they were looking at expanding pregnancy prevention services to possibly include vasectomies.

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