Sioux Falls, SD (AP) – If the US Supreme Court overturns Row v. Wade, abortion providers in some areas may ban the process and create networks of clinics spread across the country.
Wisconsin’s Planned Parenthood operates three clinics offering abortion in the state, not scheduling the process after June 25, as it predicts June’s final decision overturning a 1973 landmark decision guaranteeing abortion rights nationwide. The company has dedicated two staff members in recent weeks to assisting patients in booking appointments and figuring out how to get to clinics.
Whether clinics in Wisconsin can provide abortions has become a daily question.
“One of the hardest part of this is not knowing what day this decision will fall short and how it will be,” said Michel Velasquez, director of legal advocacy and services at Planned Parenthood Wisconsin. “The unknown is hard.”
This is a window to find out what abortion providers and access funds are planning In more than a dozen other states in the South and Midwest. This week in South Dakota, the state’s only abortion clinic, managed by Planned Parenthood, announced it had “paused” abortions by the end of the month. In Oklahoma, providers have already stopped that process after legislating to ban it.
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In Wisconsin, the law prohibiting abortion has been in the books since 1849, but Roy v. Wade overcame it. Rowe’s fall is likely to lead to a legal battle Whether this is valid or not, the planned parent does not want to keep its staff under prosecution.
Velasquez said clinic staff want to legalize abortions in Wisconsin until the last minute, but also consider that scheduling appointments for dates that could become illegal could create uncertainty and “cause suffering” to patients.
Despite having appointments on the Planned Parenthood books, Velasquez agreed that the Supreme Court could release its decision soon next week. If the same happens, she said, Planned Parenthood will help them book bookings for abortions in nearby states such as Minnesota and Illinois. At this time in Wisconsin patients can still get counseling, lab work and ultrasound.
“We do not leave patients, ‘you are on your own’,” Velasquez said.
“Even if we can not provide medication or we can not do a procedure, we can definitely help people find the care they need,” she added.
This strategy will inevitably put more pressure on providers in the area where abortion is legal, said Caitlin Myers, a professor of economics at Middlebury College who studies abortion access.
“With hundreds of thousands of women flooding from these states, it’s going to be a huge tax on the resources of these providers,” she said. “I don’t think they’re ready for this huge influx.”
This comes as the number and rates of US abortions are rising after a long decline. According to statistics from the Gatmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, abortions have increased from 2017 to 2020. It counts more than 930,000 abortions in the US by 2020.
The fact that clinics are shutting down or stopping scheduling, as they did in Idaho recently, shows that post-row reality has already arrived in many places. Myers says getting an appointment for an abortion could soon become “critical” across the country.
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