Rep. Sandy Pasch (D-Whitefish Bay) joined state Democrats' cries of foul Friday over Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s announcement it would discontinue offering patients abortion medication in the first nine weeks of pregnancy.
The non-profit reproductive healthcare provider's move follows Friday's activation of Act 217, signed into law two weeks ago by Gov. Scott Walker. The measure imposes criminal penalties for physicians who fail to follow established procedures in the new law.
Teri Huyck, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, said the measure is too "ambiguous and difficult to interpret." It requires a patient to visit the same doctor three times and the physician establish that women aren't coerced into abortion.
Wisconsin Right to Life, which said it was the major organization supporting the law, called it a "victory for Wisconsin women," in a statement Friday.
However, state Democrats — including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, both candidates to challenge Walker in June's recall — called it yet another episode in the ongoing war on women waged by the Republican Party.
Pasch said Planned Parenthood’s move confirmed that the act creates an unprecedented intrusion into the private patient-physician relationship and places an extreme burden on women and health providers.
“This legislation — which was driven by extreme special interests — trumps evidence-based health practices with intrusive political motivations by sticking legislators directly into our medical examining rooms,” Pasch said in a statement Friday. “Instead of focusing on the real issues facing Wisconsin families this session, Gov. Walker and legislative Republicans continually pushed forward unprecedented, ideologically-driven attacks on women.”
The method of a medication-induced abortion accounts for about a quarter of the organizations abortions in Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The law doesn't affect surgically performed abortions or emergency contraception medication like the "morning-after" pill.
The state recently ceased funding Planned Parenthood for breast and cervical cancer screenings, contraception and testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.