The state of Wisconsin on Thursday agreed to give taxpayer money to Planned Parenthood for legal fees after both fought in a case seeking to reintroduce admitting privileges for abortion doctors.
Wisconsin passed a law in 2013 that required abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of where they performed abortions. Admitting privileges allow abortion providers to immediately admit their patients at nearby hospitals for treatment in case abortions at their practices led to complications.
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But U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals deemed the law unconstitutional and repealed it in November 2015. Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel opened a case to bring the law back but was unsuccessful as the Supreme Court denied it in June.
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Planned Parenthood was one of the parties involved against restoring the admitting privileges law. The $1.6 million the state will pay will cover lawyer fees and expenses Planned Parenthood and other parties against restoring the law incurred, Planned Parenthood spokesperson Iris Riis said.
Planned Parenthood president and CEO Teri Huyck said in a statement that admitting privileges create “barriers” for women seeking access to safe and legal abortion. $1.6 million in taxpayer money will fund these costs, which is an “expensive bill” for Wisconsin’s taxpayers.
“Funds that would be better spent ensuring that women in Wisconsin had access to basic birth control and preventive health care are instead being wasted on unconstitutional restrictions aimed at blocking access to abortion in our state,” Huyck said.
But Wisconsin Right to Life executive director Heather Weininger said in a statement from August 4 that pro-choice advocates like Planned Parenthood are responsible for wasting taxpayer money.
Planned Parenthood initially sought $1.8 million in compensation but this amount was changed to $1.6 million, Weininger said. Planned Parenthood received over $500 million in taxpayer money between 2013-14 and paid attorneys between $450 to $600 an hour. She said it used this money to support its “pro-abortion agenda.”
“[Planned Parenthood’s] repeated demands for taxpayer funds is an affront to anyone who doesn’t want their taxpayer dollars tied up in their business – the dismemberment of unborn children,” Weininger said.
Weininger said in another statement dated June 28 that Wisconsin Right to Life will continue to work toward bringing back protective provisions like admitting privileges and protect women and unborn children from abortion.
But Huyck said she requests Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin lawmakers stop the law from coming back and invest money in developing health care for women and families.