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Wisconsin Passes New Abortion Restrictions

On Friday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law new abortion restrictions that might result in closure of two of the four abortion clinics in the state. The law is slated to come into effect from Monday, July 8, though opponents have filed a federal lawsuit.

The new law makes ultrasound test mandatory before getting an abortion, and requires doctors performing abortions to have arrangements and privileges to admit patients in a hospital within 30 miles of their registered clinics.

Tom Evenson, a spokesman for the governor said, “This bill improves a woman’s ability to make an informed choice that will protect her physical and mental health now and in the future.”

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According to the two abortion providers in Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services, the new law might force the clinics in Appleton and Milwaukee to be closed, because the doctors there do not possess the privileges of admitting patients at any nearby hospital.

The abortion providers filed a lawsuit on Friday, soon after the Wisconsin Governor signed the law. They argued at the Madison federal court that the new law denies due process and equal protection rights to women seeking an abortion.

The law allows the ultrasound test to be waived only if the pregnancy is the result of incest or sexual assault. Results of the ultrasound including a visualization of the heartbeat of the fetus along with its description are to be provided to the woman seeking abortion. She may decline to receive the results and choose not to contemplate upon them.

Similar measures in Mississippi and Alabama requiring doctors to have admitting privileges in nearby hospitals remain blocked in court challenges. Similar ultrasound laws in Oklahoma and North Carolina also remain ineffective being held up in courts.

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