Wisconsin Republicans argued in a letter that state health officials should temporarily close abortion clinics for safety, and to ensure that they are not utilizing medical resources that are needed elsewhere during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Governor Tony Evers’ “Safer at Home” order given last week did not specifically mention abortion clinics as essential business; however, the letter did broadly mention clinics and medical facilities as essential. After Evers’ order, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin posted on their Facebook page saying that they are still open for appointments, with three of its twelve clinics across the state providing abortions, and all of them providing access to birth control, cancer treatments, and STI treatments, along with numerous other services.
U.S. states such as such as Ohio, Alabama, Iowa, Texas, and Oklahoma have been temporarily stopping abortion procedures due to them being described as “medically unnecessary” by anti-abortion proponents. Pro-choice advocates have brought lawsuits against the states attempting to enact these restrictions. In Texas, the state won its appeal and can now enforce the ban. According to clinic escorts, there are still anti-abortion protests occurring at Wisconsin abortion clinics despite social distancing rules, and protestors continue to harass patients.
Sources: Wisconsin Legislature 4/2/20; State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services 3/24/20; Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Facebook 3/24/20; The Cap Times 4/2/20; Ms. Magazine 3/25/20