Planned Parenthood Takes Challenge of Web Cam Law into State Court

Wisconsin’s new law requiring an in person exam for a woman seeking an abortion was enacted last year under the leadership of Wisconsin Right to Life. The impact of the law is to prohibit web cab discussions pioneered by Planned Parenthood in other states where a woman at a remote location talks to the abortionist over a web cam, and RU 486 chemical abortion pills are dispensed to her where she is located.

Planned Parenthood planned to use web cam discussions and dispensation of abortion pills at a remote location as a means to bring abortion into local communities.

Here is a chronology of what has occurred since the law went into effect in April of 2012:

April 2012: Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) immediately announced it would stop doing all RU 486 chemical abortions because the law was too vague.

December 2012: PPWI filed a challenge in federal court asking that the law be enjoined.

February 2013: The Wisconsin Department of Justice reached an agreement with PPWI regarding specifics of the law which would resolve the challenge and asked for approval from the federal court. The federal judge declined on grounds that she has no authority as a federal official to adopt a specific construction of state statutes. PPWI then removed its challenge from federal court and filed it in state court.

The net result of all of this activity is that the law is still in effect, PPWI continues its self-imposed decision not to offer any chemical abortions, and the challenge will move forward in state court. Stay tuned.

Barbara Lyons

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