Reproductive Rights

Wisconsin Must Reimburse Legal Fees of Groups Fighting Abortion Restrictions

The U.S. District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin ruled Thursday that the state must pay out a $1.6 million settlement to several plaintiffs, including Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, as reimbursement for the legal fees they incurred fighting the state’s unconstitutional admitting privilege law.

The law, signed by Republican Governor Scott Walker, required doctors who performed abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the procedure was performed. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in November that the this law did absolutely nothing to better protect the health of women accessing abortion care, and that it discouraged women from seeking an abortion by making it more difficult for them to obtain one.

The state’s attorney general had tried to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, but the Justices declined to hear the case the day after their ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which overturned a similar provision in Texas.

In a statement released yesterday, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Teri Huyck said, “Governor Walker’s unconstitutional abortion restrictions have proven to be an expensive bill for the taxpayers of Wisconsin. Funds that would be better spent ensuring that women in Wisconsin had access to basic birth control and preventative health care are instead being wasted on unconstitutional restrictions aimed at blocking access to abortion in our state.”

North Carolina, Alabama and Missouri have also recently had to reimburse the legal costs of organizations that fought their unconstitutional anti-abortion laws.

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