Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin looks to improve abortion access in federal lawsuit

MADISON, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) was in federal court Monday, Dec. 7 to challenge several abortion restrictions.

PPWI says the restrictions "unconstitutionally limit" access to abortion care in Wisconsin. The federal lawsuit challenges several provisions of Wisconsin law, officials say. 

The lawsuit challenges three Wisconsin restrictions:

The Physician-Only Restriction 

PPWI says this restriction blocks qualified Advanced Practice Clinicians, as well as Nurse Practitioners and Certified Nurse Midwives from providing abortion care.

The Same-Physician Restriction

PPWI says people seeking abortion care in Wisconsin must make two separate trips to the health center, at least 24 hours apart, under state law. Officials say this requires women seeking medication abortion care to see the same physician for both state-mandated visits. PPWI says this restriction can delay care.

The Physical-Presence Restriction

PPWI says this restriction bans the use of telemedicine in abortion care, which prevents patients seeking a mediation abortion from completing the second state-mandated appointment closer to home. Officials say this requires the physician who prescribed the drug that begins a medication abortion to be physically present when the patient is handed the pill. PPWI says 96% of Wisconsin counties have no abortion provider and 67% of Wisconsin women live in those counties, which PPWI says forces women to travel farther for their care.

"PPWI is challenging these restrictions because they interfere with a woman's ability to make her own health care decisions and make it more difficult to access the care she needs," President and CEO of PPWI Tanya Atkinson said. "Every person deserves the freedom to decide when and if to start a family and we all deserve access to the health care and information we need." 

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