Roe v. Wade and Wisconsin Abortion Access Q&As
Wisconsin's criminal abortion ban (section 940.04 of the Wisconsin statutes) makes it a felony for a anyone, other than the pregnant person, to provide an abortion . This 173 year old law effectively bans abortion in Wisconsin at any point in pregnancy with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the pregnant person. The narrow exception to this criminal abortion ban. The law does not apply if an abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant person as determined by their attending physician. The law also does not apply to a pregnant person for accessing abortion care or for performing a self-managed abortion.
It is important to know that a pregnant person in Wisconsin who terminates their pregnancy is NOT subject to any criminal or civil liability under Wisconsin law.
If the criminal abortion ban goes into effect in Wisconsin, the only exception provided under that law is an abortion to save the life of the pregnant person.
While PPWI commends AG Kaul's and these other district attorneys' stances on access to safe and legal abortion in WI, there are 70 total county district attorneys in the state of Wisconsin, each of whom could try and enforce the criminal statute against providers. There is also a 6-year statute of limitations on felonies in Wisconsin, which means even if someone doesn't prosecute a provider now, a district attorney would have 6 years to decide to prosecute.
The most direct and responsible way to restore access to abortion care in Wisconsin would be for the Legislature to pass the Abortion Rights Preservation Act, which would repeal Wisconsin's criminal abortion ban. If the Legislature repealed the ban, PPPWI and other abortion care providers could immediately resume providing abortion care.
The other way to restore access would be either for a state or federal court to rule that Wisconsin's criminal abortion ban is not enforceable. AG Kaul and Governor Evers are currently challenging the enforceability of the law in state court, and that litigation is still in the early stages and the court has not yet ruled on whether the law is enforceable.
PPWI will assist patients in navigating the changing legal landscape in Wisconsin as well as nationally to identify the most appropriate place for safe, legal abortion care. Click HERE for more information regarding abortion resources in Wisconsin.
PPWI will continue to assist with miscarriage management and in doing so providers will need to ensure that there is no longer a viable pregnancy.
Abortion will remain legal in Illinois and Minnesota, and it is unlikely that will change. Michigan, which has a pre-Roe criminal ban that is similar to Wisconsin's, won a preliminary injunction, so will be able to continue providing abortion care if Roe is overturned. Their legal landscape is subject to change depending on the outcome of their ongoing litigation. Abortion will also remain legal in Iowa for the time being.
Illinois does not have unnecessary restrictions that impede access to care. For example, medication abortion in Illinois can be done by telemedicine, advanced nurse practitioners can give the medication and there are no waiting periods. Minors do not need parental consent or notification.
(Illinois repealed their parental notification requirement.) There are no waiting periods or state-mandated counseling.
PPWI is working collaboratively with PPIL to ensure that their health centers are fully staffed with doctors, clinicians, and other support staff to manage and prioritize abortion patients from around the country. Any provider or clinician performing abortion care in Illinois must be licensed and credentialed in IL. Patient navigators will be able to connect patients to resources for things such as transportation or lodging as needed.
The needs of the patients and communities that PPWI serve are central to all of PPWI's planning. PPWI has been preparing for this moment for a long time and partnering with PPIL and other regional providers to make sure that people who need access to abortion care are able to receive that care where it remains safe and legal. PPWI will continue to provide all reproductive and other healthcare services it can under the law.
PPWI will support patients to access the care they need, regardless of whether it is a PP affiliate or an independent provider. For more information, click HERE.