Unconstitutional Wisconsin Law Bans Most Surgical Abortions

A new Wisconsin state law that bans most surgical abortions and requires women to notify the men who impregnated them went into effect today. The punishment for violation of this law is life in prison.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and six doctors who perform abortions filed suit against the state on grounds that the law would endanger women’s lives, deprive both women and doctors of their right to choose medical treatment, and impose cruel and unusual punishment on violators. A temporary restraining order on the law was requested and denied.

The bill is described by opponents as banning only late-term, D&X abortions. However, the law defines the prohibited procedure so broadly that nearly all surgical methods of abortion could fit into its description. The only permissible surgical procedures that could effectively end pregnancy in accordance with the law are hysterectomies and hysterotomies, neither of which are workable alternatives to surgical abortion.

An anonymous Madison physician told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his clinic will stop performing abortions immediately. “There won’t be any done at this clinic, and I doubt that there will be any done in Milwaukee or the entire state of Wisconsin,” said another doctor and plaintiff in the suit.

Feminist News Stories on Abortion


Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel - May 14, 1998

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