In 2012, the Wisconsin legislature enacted a law to protect women from coerced abortions and to prohibit web cam abortions. The purpose of the law was to protect women from individuals in their lives who exert undue pressure, including coercion, causing women to “choose” abortion even though they may not want to abort. The second provision protects women from RU 486 abortion drugs prescribed over a web cam where the woman is not physically examined or seen in person by the abortionist.
The web cam prohibition in the law reads as follows:
“No person may give an abortion-inducing drug to a woman unless the physician who prescribed, or otherwise provided, the abortion-inducing drug for the woman:
(a) performs a physical exam of the woman before the information is provided, and (b) is physically present in the room when the drug is given to the woman. “
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) challenged the law in federal court. An agreement was reached by PPWI and the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office that the law could not be interpreted to mean that the abortionist must be present when the woman actually takes the RU 486 abortion drugs. The federal judge refused to approve the agreement, correctly stating that a federal judge cannot interpret state laws.
So, PPWI took their challenge into Dane County Court. Yesterday, Judge Richard Niess ruled that the abortionist is required to be present when the abortion drugs are given to the woman but did not have to be present when the woman ingested the drugs. This is exactly what the law says.
AG J.B. Van Hollen issued the following statement: “The decision is in accord with what the law is and what this office has always said the law is. No one ever tried to enforce the law differently. Planned Parenthood’s case was a frivolous action from the beginning…Courts of law shouldn’t be stages for political theater funded by taxpayer dollars.”
We couldn’t agree more. The most important aspects of the law are preserved. Women are protected from coercive individuals and from prescription of dangerous drugs without adequate physical examination.