Planned Parenthood will resume abortions in Wisconsin after court rules against 1849 ban

Planned Parenthood will resume abortions in Wisconsin next week, after a state court ruled that a 174-year-old criminal law does not ban the procedure.

Abortion services will resume on Monday at Planned Parenthood’s clinics in Milwaukee and Madison, according to a statement issued Thursday by the organization’s Wisconsin chapter. Patients can start booking appointments today, according to the statement.

In consultation with attorneys, physicians, partners and stakeholders, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is confident in our decision to resume abortion care in Wisconsin,” Tanya Aktinson, CEO of Planned Parenthood Wisconsin, said in a video statement Thursday.

Planned Parenthood temporarily suspended abortion services in Wisconsin on the same day the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that for 50 years had protected the procedure as a constitutional right.

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The Supreme Court’s decision in June 2022 to abolish federal constitutional protections for abortion raised uncertainty in Wisconsin over whether providers could be prosecuted under an 1849 law that criminalized the procedure as manslaughter.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and state Attorney General Josh Kaul, both Democrats, filed a lawsuit challenging the 1849 criminal law. A state judge ruled in July that the 173-year-old law does not prohibit consensual medical abortions, but instead targets anyone who kills a fetus by attacking the mother.

“This pre-Roe statute says nothing about abortion—there is no such thing as an ‘1849 Abortion Ban’ in Wisconsin,” Dane County Circuit Court Judge Diane Schlipper wrote in her July ruling that rejected a motion filed by a county district attorney to dismiss the case.

The litigation over the 1849 is ongoing and will likely reach the state Supreme Court, where liberals now have a 4-3 majority after Janet Protasiewicz won a seat on the bench in April.

In March, Democrats in the Wisconsin state legislature introduced a bill to repeal the 1849 ban. Republicans have a majority in both legislative chambers.

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