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The Planned Parenthood Suit against
Wisconsin’s Pro-Life Laws: An Update
Amy Gehrke | 13 February 2020
This time last year, Wisconsin Right to Life Executive Director, Heather Weininger, contributed a piece to Sebastian’s Point outlining an insidious lawsuit filed against the state of Wisconsin by Planned Parenthood. Their goal: Expanding abortion to every Planned Parenthood clinic across Wisconsin. As is often the case, abortion advocates are using the courts to force their deadly agenda, this time on the state of Wisconsin – an agenda that our residents would vehemently oppose.
A little background: In May of 2018, Planned Parenthood re-opened their clinic in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, to provide chemical abortions – no surgical abortions are performed at this site. This was a first-of-its-kind move in the state, and coming from a marketing background, to me, it had all of the hallmarks of a test market. It was clear this test was incredibly lucrative for Planned Parenthood.
Fast forward to January of 2019. Less than ten days after our new pro-abortion governor, Tony Evers, and attorney general, Josh Kaul, were sworn in, Planned Parenthood filed suit against the state of Wisconsin to overturn pro-life laws that prevent them from performing chemical abortions in all of their clinics. They are challenging a 1985 law requiring that only physicians can perform abortions in addition to more recent laws requiring the same physician to be present throughout the entire chemical abortion procedure.
Planned Parenthood plainly states in their suit that they are seeking to overturn these laws because they cannot find enough physicians willing to perform abortions. Their goal is to change Wisconsin law so nurses and other assistants can perform them. If this lawsuit is successful, Wisconsin’s abortion rate could skyrocket to over 12,000 each year.
What has happened since February of 2019?
Shortly after the suit was filed, Weininger made two written requests to meet with Attorney General Kaul to discuss the lawsuit and the necessity for him to recuse himself from this case. Planned Parenthood heavily supported Josh Kaul during his 2018 campaign, and Governor Evers even appointed Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin's President and CEO, Tanya Atkinson, to his Health Policy Advisory Council. Attorney General Kaul clearly has a conflict of interest and should not be defending the state against his and his boss’s friends at Planned Parenthood.
Kaul did meet with Weininger, but he refused to recuse himself from this case.
Next, Wisconsin's pro-life Legislature sought to intervene in the case. Shortly before leaving office, former Governor Scott Walker signed a bill into law that allows the Legislature to intervene in state lawsuits if they do not believe our laws will be adequately defended.
On November 17, 2019, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Legislature's request to intervene in the Planned Parenthood lawsuit. Wisconsin Right to Life issued a statement that included:
We are frustrated to hear this ruling. We think that it would be in the best interest of the state to have someone else defend these laws. Attorney General Kaul’s history with Planned Parenthood is extremely concerning. He clearly has a conflict of interest.
We have worked hard to pass legislation that protects the right to life. This lawsuit puts those laws – and the lives of the unborn in our state- at great risk. The Legislature was proactive in seeking outside intervention in this case, and we are disappointed the court will not allow them to do so.
The lives of Wisconsin’s unborn children are now in tremendous peril. What we know of Josh Kaul’s plans regarding this lawsuit indicate that he is not willing to mount a serious defense against his friends at Planned Parenthood. To defend our laws, Wisconsin Right to Life has hired the best pro-life attorneys in the nation. Kaul’s team has recently reached out to our legal team to discuss expert witnesses.
There is still a great cause for concern. The Evers’ administration has proven to be in the pockets of abortion advocates throughout 2019. Governor Evers called 2019 legislation to protect babies who survive abortion “unnecessary” and “redundant” and went so far as to hold a bizarre photo-op with pro-abortion leaders when vetoing a package of four pro-life bills over the summer.
Wisconsin Right to Life will not back down in the face of Planned Parenthood’s onslaught. We are utilizing our other programs to fight the lies of the abortion giant here in Wisconsin.
Our Veritas Society media program is using advanced technology to reach women at the Sheboygan Planned Parenthood clinic to give them the facts about chemical abortions. We are also reaching every Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin with a message of life-saving alternatives to abortion. Additionally, we are using advanced technology to reach women at a growing number of Wisconsin college campuses. Our Education Fund is expanding our training programs for teens and college students to ensure they are able to tell their peers the truth about chemical abortions and the other life issues.
One thing is clear: Planned Parenthood will stop at nothing to increase their profits from the deaths of unborn children and the heartache of their mothers. We all must be vigilant.
Amy Gehrke, Vice President of Advancement & Development, Wisconsin Right to Life