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Planned Parenthood challenges Wisconsin abortion laws (UPDATE)

By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin asked a federal judge on Wednesday to repeal state laws that make it more difficult for women, particularly in rural areas, to undergo abortions.

The lawsuit filed in federal court in Madison is directed at restrictions enacted by Republicans in the state Legislature under former Gov. Scott Walker. The lawsuit comes 10 days after Walker left office and was replaced by Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat.

Planned Parenthood wants to repeal laws stipulating that only doctors may perform abortions; that women seeking medicine that causes abortions must see the same doctor on two separate visits; and that doctors be physically present when dispensing abortion-causing drugs.

The requirements do not protect the health and safety of patients but rather unconstitutionally limit access to abortions in Wisconsin, argued the lawsuit filed by attorney Lester Pines for Planned Parenthood, its employees and patients.

The lawsuit alleges that the laws violate women’s constitutional right to privacy, found in the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of due process, and the right Planned Parenthood doctors, nurses and patients have to equal protection under the law.

The lawsuit poses difficulties for Attorney General Josh Kaul, a Democrat. He was supported during the campaign by an arm of Planned Parenthood, but said that as attorney general he would defend the state’s laws. His spokeswoman, Gillian Drummond, did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Heather Weinginer, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, said her group may ask Republican leaders in the Legislature to intervene in the case. Leaders in both the Senate and Assembly did not immediately return messages.


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