Anti-abortion groups in Wisconsin are urging the district attorneys of the state’s two most populous counties to prosecute abortion providers for “breaking the law” by “performing an illegal act” — even though a judge ruled in July that a law once used to ban the procedures in the state didn’t apply to “consensual abortions.”
On Tuesday, representatives of Wisconsin Right to Life, Wisconsin Family Action, and Pro-Life Wisconsin held a press conference at the state Capitol calling on Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne and Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm to start prosecuting abortion providers in their counties.
Last week, two of Planned Parenthood’s 22 Wisconsin health centers — Milwaukee Water Street and Madison East — resumed offering abortion care procedures for the first time since June 2022, when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to an abortion.
The move came weeks after Dane County Circuit Judge Diane Schlipper ruled that a 174-year-old law commonly referred to as “the 1849 criminal abortion ban” didn’t apply to consensual abortions.
“There is no such thing as an ‘1849 abortion ban’ in Wisconsin,” Schlipper wrote, saying the language in the ban didn’t use the term “abortion,” which means the law only prohibits attacking a woman in an attempt to kill her unborn child.
On Oct. 14, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Tanya Atkinson, said since the court had confirmed there was not an enforceable abortion ban in the state, “our staff can now provide the full scope of sexual and reproductive healthcare to anyone in Wisconsin who needs it, no matter what.”
Atkinson’s announcement was slammed as “audacious” by anti-abortion activists, who maintained the procedure was “still illegal in most instances.”
“Planned Parenthood is blatantly performing an illegal act here in Wisconsin,” Heather Weininger, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, told reporters on Tuesday, saying providers “have been breaking the law for one week and one day.”
They are “unashamedly breaking the law,” and their motives are “clearly not in the best interest of women or children in Wisconsin,” Gracie Skogman, legislative director of Wisconsin Right to Life, added.
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