Planned Parenthood challenges constitutionality of state's medication-induced abortion law

2012-12-12T07:00:00Z Planned Parenthood challenges constitutionality of state's medication-induced abortion lawWisconsin State Journal La Crosse Tribune
December 12, 2012 7:00 am  • 

MADISON — A state law that subjects doctors who perform medication-induced abortions to possible criminal charges is unconstitutionally vague and should be struck down, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin charged in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The suit in U.S. District Court in Madison challenges the law, which requires doctors and patients to take a series of steps before a woman can receive a so-called "pill abortion." Doctors who fail to follow some of the requirements can be subjected to criminal charges, civil penalties or disciplinary actions, the lawsuit said.

The defendants are Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen, the state's district attorneys and the Medical Examining Board who are charged with enforcing the law.

Van Hollen spokeswoman Dana Brueck said her office would "review and respond accordingly" to the suit.

The suit alleges the law does not clearly spell out what a physician must do to satisfy all of the requirements of the law.

Planned Parenthood, which performed roughly two-thirds of the 7,019 abortions in Wisconsin last year, stopped offering medication abortions in April when the law took effect. Officials said they could not provide the best care for their patients while protecting their doctors from criminal liability. The nonprofit continues to offer surgical abortions at its clinics in Madison, Milwaukee and Appleton.

"We are in court to make sure decisions about pregnancy once again belong to a woman, her family and her faith, with the counsel of her doctor," Planned Parenthood president and CEO Teri Huyck said.

In an interview Tuesday, Dr. Douglas Laube of Madison said the reduction in pill abortions has forced some women to terminate their pregnancies later since surgical abortions can't be performed in the first weeks of pregnancy. Surgery also can be more dangerous for patients with certain physical conditions, he said.

"It is legislated medicine rather than evidence-based practices," said Laube, past president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The act requires, among other things, that women undergoing nonsurgical abortions visit the same doctor three times and that doctors verify through specific steps that patients are undergoing the procedure voluntarily. The state already requires written consent for an abortion.

Medication abortion involves taking two drugs within the first nine weeks of pregnancy. The process allows women to undergo abortion in their homes. The law does not affect emergency contraception, which is over-the-counter medication that women take to prevent, rather than terminate, a pregnancy.

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. FUBAR
    Report Abuse
    FUBAR - December 12, 2012 10:34 am
    People continuously bring children into the world that they can't feed or provide for or continually birth babies into poor, malaria ridden and AIDS infected villages. People do NOT know when to stop having babies and they don't know how to slip on a rain coat and yes if we continue down this road we will all be in trouble. This world can only handle so many people.
  2. Cassandra
    Report Abuse
    Cassandra - December 12, 2012 9:53 am
    Chemotherapy is poison, too, Zedeq. What's your point?
  3. 7
    Report Abuse
    7 - December 12, 2012 9:24 am
    I just want to clarify your comments so that their isn’t any “fighting.” Are you calling people who bring children into the world stupid?
  4. lookout
    Report Abuse
    lookout - December 12, 2012 8:02 am
    Some day the earth won't be able to support the amount of people that live on it. Then think about how much suffering and fighting there will be. People on their own don't have the smarts to stop breeding.
  5. womanking
    Report Abuse
    womanking - December 12, 2012 7:56 am
    Then don't take them.
  6. taxedout
    Report Abuse
    taxedout - December 12, 2012 7:50 am
    How many law suits does it take to kill a child?
  7. Zedeq
    Report Abuse
    Zedeq - December 12, 2012 7:22 am
    Pills to induce abortions are POISON, not medicine.
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