Abortion providers sue as Wisconsin governor signs bill

2012 Republican National Convention: Day 2

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker speaks during the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 28, 2012 in Tampa, Florida.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed a bill that would require women seeking an abortion to get an ultrasound. The bill also puts restrictions on doctors who perform abortions, reports Marti Mikkelson of member station WUWM in Milwaukee.

Mikkelson told NPR that the bill, passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature in June, would "prohibit doctors from performing abortions unless they have admitting privileges at a local hospital." Reuters reports that clinics would have to be within 30 miles of a hospital.

Mikkelson says the two abortion providers in the state have filed a lawsuit to prevent the bill from taking effect. In a statement Friday, Planned Parenthood Wisconsin announced its intentions.

"This pending new law threatens the availability of abortion at Wisconsin's last four remaining facilities located in Appleton, Milwaukee and Madison," Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin president Teri Huyck said.

Also joining the legal battle is Affiliated Medical Services of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The paper adds:

"The clinics are asking the court to immediately block the law, contending it violates the constitution's due process guarantee, puts an undue burden on a woman's right to choose abortion and unconstitutionally treats doctors who perform abortions differently than doctors who perform other services."

Susan Armacost, legislative director for Wisconsin Right to Life, tells the Journal Sentinel, "We are confident this bill will be held to be constitutional."

Wisconsin is now the eighth state to have a hospital admission requirement. As NPR's Kathy Lohr noted in January on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, states have become "key battlegrounds" in the contentious abortion debate. (Most recently demonstrated in a dramatic filibuster in the Texas Legislature — the bill in question also had a hospital-distance requirement.)

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