On Monday, Planned Parenthood clinics in Wisconsin reopened after being closed for more than a year following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, remove the right to abortion from the Constitution, and turn the issue over to the states to define.
Shortly after the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health opinion was issued in June 2022, the organization began winding down its operations. Wisconsin’s 1849 statute, which providers have read as prohibiting virtually all abortions, went into effect as a result of the judgment.
Democratic Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul has sued to overturn the state’s abortion ban. In July, a judge in Wisconsin determined that the legislation does not apply to medical abortions that both parties agree on.
The case will likely make its way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which became Democratically controlled last month.
Many women in the previous 15 months who couldn’t get abortions have traveled to Illinois, where the procedure is still widely offered. Planned Parenthood of Illinois released a statement in June indicating a 700% increase in patients from outside the Missouri and Illinois border region.
In the first half of 2023, the organization assisted 477 Wisconsin individuals seeking abortion care outside of the state.
Cynthia Lin, the board president of the Women’s Medical Fund of Wisconsin, told the Associated Press that “there’s a lot of work remaining to do, even within the restoration of legal abortion care in Wisconsin,” because some patients had to travel a great distance to get to clinics in Madison or Milwaukee.
According to the AP, Lin also cited the obstacles posed by state rules that mandate counseling and ultrasound appointments for patients seeking abortions at least 24 hours before the procedure.
The Women’s Medical Fund of Wisconsin provides financial aid for abortion operations and related fees.