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Abortion in the courts: What’s at stake in Wisconsin  

By: Tanya Atkinson, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin

Nearly one in four women will have an abortion in her lifetime. Yet starting on September 1, performing or helping a woman get an abortion in Texas after six weeks will become a crime. This won’t stop in Texas.

Deciding if or when to become a parent is one of the most personal and life-changing decisions many people will make. While we may have differing views about abortion, most of us can agree that we want our friends and family to be able to get the care they need when they need it. We don't want politicians to make these incredibly personal decisions for us or the people we care about. Yet that is exactly what is happening in Texas and nationwide. The extreme abortion ban in Texas - before most women even know they are pregnant - is part of a national agenda to end access to abortion. In Wisconsin we need to protect our freedom to make our own health care decisions or we will become the next Texas.  

This fall, the Supreme Court of the United States agreed to hear a case that could pose a direct challenge to Roe and abortion access. This is a real and significant threat to abortion access in this country and in Wisconsin in particular. Wisconsin is 1 of 9 states in the country with a criminal abortion law still in place that could immediately go into effect if Roe is overturned. Wisconsin’s 172-year-old law criminalizes abortion — banning abortion in Wisconsin at any point in pregnancy with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the mother.

The reality is laws and court rulings have serious consequences for people we love – our physicians and clinicians have been there for women, counseling and caring for them.  

'As a physician, I trust my patients to know what is best for them. Consider my patient who at 13 years old became pregnant as the result of a brutal gang rape. It is unconscionable to me that she could be denied access to safe, compassionate abortion care even in such a traumatic circumstance,’ Dr. Kathy King.

Abortion can be a complex, deeply personal, private decision that each person must be able to make for themselves, taking into account their own values, responsibilities, and life circumstances. Take it from our patients who have shared what it’s like to be in their shoes:

Bringing a new life into this world is an immense responsibility that my husband and I knew was not feasible for us. We made a conscious, responsible decision taking into consideration the needs of our family as it currently exists.’ - patient, Jane

‘I had an idea for my future that didn’t include a teen pregnancy. I am in college now.’ - patient, anonymous

‘‘My husband and I, with our faith in God, made our decision. It wasn’t anyone else’s place to decide. I had an abortion to preserve my health, and likely save my life. I never imagined I would have to make that decision’ - patient, Ginger

We can't know every person's circumstances. What we do know is banning abortions won’t stop them in Wisconsin or in any other state. What it will do is make it unsafe. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin will do what is right for our patients and keep our doors open to provide exceptional care in a safe, and nonjudgmental way - no matter what. 

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