Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin medical officer reviews the two years since Roe reversal - TAI News
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Protesters make their way to the Wisconsin Capitol Rotunda during a march supporting overturning Wisconsin’s near total ban on abortion on Jan. 22, 2023, in Madison, WI. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

June 24 marks two years since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion care with its ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Since the Dobbs ruling, voters in many states have taken matters into their own hands, gathering signatures on petitions to put abortion on the ballot and approving initiatives to expand or preserve the right to abortion. Fourteen states have instituted extremely restrictive abortion bans, and some have attempted to criminalize patients and providers for receiving or providing care.

After the fall of Roe, Wisconsin lurched into a legal roller coaster ride. A state law dating back to 1849, long interpreted as a ban on abortion, went into effect. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul challenged the ban, and Kaul said the state would not enforce it. Voters elected a liberal justice to the state Supreme Court. A few legal maneuvers and lawsuits later, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin resumed providing abortion care in the state and, more recently, filed a petition asking the state Supreme Court to overturn the 1849 law as an abortion ban. 

The Wisconsin Independent reached out to Dr. Allison Linton, an obstetrician-gynecologist and the chief medical officer at Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, about her thoughts on the two years since Roe was reversed. What have been some of her greatest concerns, and her points of optimism, and what might she say to voters in her state, given that abortion will play such a huge role in this year’s elections? Dr. Linton emailed the following responses.

What have you learned? 

People continue to need abortion care regardless of where they live. We’ve learned that rapidly changing laws and restrictions create immense confusion and misinformation which further impact people’s ability to receive healthcare.

What has surprised you? 

The lengths patients will go to in order to receive basic reproductive healthcare.

What do you hope for? 

Recognition of a constitutional right to bodily autonomy and access to abortion on a federal AND state level. We also hope that existing abortion restrictions will be removed. No abortion restriction has ever allowed me to provide better care to patients. Healthcare decisions should be left up to patients in consultation with their doctors.

What scares you? 

A waning in energy/anger around the loss of a right to bodily autonomy. There was SO much outrage immediately after Roe fell, but we are starting to see less energy. But access has not changed. Millions of patients around the country are not able to access the healthcare they need, and we need people to continue to stand up and fight for people to control their bodies and futures without governmental interference.

What legal aspects were big wins for the state you live in? 

Confirmation that our 1849 statute was not enforceable against abortion providers allowed us to resume abortion care within Wisconsin.

What were the big losses? 

Loss of a sense of security and stability for both patients and staff. Loss of trust in the “system.”

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The Wisconsin Independent is a project of American Independent Media, a 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to use journalism to educate the public, giving them the information they need about local and federal issues.