July 5, 2013
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin: We Are Going to Court to Protect Our Patients
Federal Lawsuit to be Filed Challenging Wisconsin Hospital Staff Privileges Requirement in SB 206
MADISON- WI — To protect women’s health and access to safe and legal abortion in Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced today that they will be challenging SB 206 in federal court as soon as the Governor signs it into law. On Wednesday, the Governor requested SB 206 - a fast tracked bill that was passed in less than 1 week - indicating his intent to sign the bill into law within the next few days. SB 206 will jeopardize women’s health by shutting down two abortion health centers and decreasing capacity by at least 50% in one of the two remaining abortion health centers in Wisconsin. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, represented by Cullen Weston Pines & Bach and attorneys at Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Affiliated Medical Services represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, will be filing suit in federal court to block Senate Bill 206, which requires abortion providers to have staff admitting privileges at a local hospital. PPWI is asking the federal district court in the Western District of Wisconsin to immediately enjoin SB 206 which will significantly reduce abortion access in Wisconsin in violation of the federal Constitution. SB 206 violates both the due process rights under the Federal Constitution of both PPWI and its patients.
“We are going to court to protect a woman’s ability to make her own personal, private health care decisions,” said Teri Huyck, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. “For 78 years, Planned Parenthood health centers in Wisconsin have provided high-quality, nonjudgmental health care to women. Abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision, but ultimately a decision that a woman should make — politics should not interfere.”
“We are confident that the Court will recognize that women in Wisconsin, including victims of rape and incest, will be restricted from accessing safe and legal abortion,” continued Huyck. “Senate Bill 206 is one part of the legislative majority’s goal to end abortion access in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, you do not need to overturn Roe vs. Wade to make abortion inaccessible. When abortion is inaccessible women’s health suffers and women die. It is critical that women still maintain access. This is why we are filing suit- for our patients, future patients and all of the women of Wisconsin. Women should be trusted and allowed to make their own health care decisions.”
Medical experts across the country oppose bills like Wisconsin Senate Bill 206 including the Wisconsin Medical Society and the Wisconsin Hospital Association. In fact, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), opposes laws or other regulations that require abortion providers to have hospital staff privileges.
“Requiring doctors who provide abortions to have staff privileges at a nearby hospital won’t make women safer and, in fact, could jeopardize their health by depriving women in Wisconsin access to safe, high-quality health care,” said Dr. Broekhuizen Medical Director for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. “Legal abortion is extremely safe. In fact, it is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States. Abortion complications are rare, but those that do occur are usually handled in the health center that provided the abortion. In the exceedingly rare event that a complication after an abortion requires hospital-based care, a woman would be provided emergency care at a hospital, and staff privileges at that hospital have no impact on a woman’s ability to receive high quality, timely care.”
In recent years, opponents of safe and legal abortion have been pushing for hospital privileges requirements that apply only to physicians who provide safe and legal abortion as part of a national strategy to limit a woman’s access to abortion. Admitting privileges are not an indication of quality of the physician. It is common hospital practice to grant only privileges to physicians who admit a minimum number of patients and the process itself can take 3 to 6 months.
Moreover, admitting privileges do not hasten a patient’s care in the event of an emergency. If a patient requires emergency care, an ambulance would be called and a patient would be taken to the closest emergency room and if necessary admitted for care by an appropriate physician at that hospital.