What you need to know about Planned Parenthood's decision to offer abortions again

One of the procedure rooms where abortions were administered at the Planned Parenthood office at 435 S. Water St., in Milwaukee.
One of the procedure rooms where abortions were administered at the Planned Parenthood office at 435 S. Water St., in Milwaukee.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin will start offering abortion services again in the state.

This comes as legal challenges to the state's 1849 abortion law continue in the state court system.

Here are answers to some immediate questions about the annoucement.

When will abortion services start again in Milwaukee and Madison?

Abortion services will restart in the Wisconsin's two largest cities on Monday. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said the services will be available at Water Street Health Center in Milwaukee and Madison East Health Center.

When can you start booking appointments for abortion services in Wisconsin?

According to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, appointments can be made starting immediately. To schedule an appointment, visit ppwi.org or call 844-493-1052.

How far along in my pregnancy can I be to receive a surgical abortion?

Planned Parenthood is reverting back to the same restrictions and rules that were in place in Wisconsin prior to the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling:

  • Patients can obtain an abortion 22 weeks from the last menstrual period or 20 weeks from conception

  • 24-hour waiting period prior to abortion

  • Parental consent for those under 18

  • Mandatory ultrasound prior to an abortion.

  • Mandatory counseling session prior to an abortion.

Are medication abortions available again at Planned Parenthood?

Yes. Medication abortions will be available during the first 11 weeks of pregnancy. Wisconsin law requires the same physician see a patient for two visits to provide a medication abortion. The law also requires the visits be in-person and that the physician be present when the medication is taken by the patient.

Wisconsin law prohibits telemedicine and the direct mailing of the medication to patients. The medication also can not be distributed at a pharmacy. This is not the case in many other states.

Will abortion services be offered in other Wisconsin locations?

Not yet.

When Roe v Wade was overturned, Planned Parenthood was offering abortions services in three cities: Madison, Milwaukee and Sheboygan. Planned Parenthood plans to resume abortion services at its Sheboygan clinic when staffing levels are sufficient to again provide the service.

Can I receive abortions services at Affiliated Medical Services in Milwaukee?

No. The North Farwell Street clinic closed in October 2022, a result of the ban on abortions services. Unlike Planned Parenthood, the clinic did not provide other reproductive services that it could fall back on to remain open.

Why is Planned Parenthood so confident the 1849 law does not apply to voluntary abortions?

Planned Parenthood recognizes Dane County Circuit Court Judge Diane Schlipper's decision is not the final decision in this case. That said, Planned Parenthood said Schlipper was extraordinarily clear that the 1849 law did not ban consensual abortions. It prohibited feticides. She based her ruling on a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling from 1994 that came to the same legal conclusion.

What is feticide?

In the 1994 Wisconsin Supreme Court case, feticide was ruled a nonconsensual act in which somebody batters a woman to the point she loses the pregnancy. That's different from an abortion, which is a consensual, medical procedure.

How long will Planned Parenthood be offering abortions in Wisconsin?

It's not known.

Michelle Velasquez, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin director of legal advocacy and services, acknowledged that the most recent court order is not a final ruling, and it's possible things will change in the future.

"We’ll have to take things as they come, but we are confident in our analysis and we are ready to provide this essential care again, because there is really, in our view, not a reason to wait any longer," Velasquez said.

How many abortions were performed in Wisconsin from January 2022 through June 24, 2022?

Approximately 4,000, according to Planned Parenthood.

Any reason to believe abortions were being performed illegally in Wisconsin over the past year? 

Resources like abortionfinder.org and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin's Patient Navigators made it easier for patients to find access to safe, legal abortion care. Planned Parenthood of Illinois, for example, saw a 54% increase in abortions since the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Abortions remained legal in Illinois following the Dobbs decision.

More: Wisconsin's 1849 abortion law goes before the courts next week. Here's what happens if it is overturned.

Drew Dawson and Jessie Opoien, both of the Journal Sentinel staff, contributed to this report.

Jessica Van Egeren is the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's enterprise health reporter. She can be reached at jvanegeren@gannett.com.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is offering abortions. What to know.