An abortion-rights group says it will resume performing the procedures despite concern that the wording of a new state ban could apply to all abortions, not just late-term.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said it will resume abortions Friday in its Milwaukee and Appleton clinics even though a federal court refused Tuesday to take up an appeal aimed at blocking the ban on certain late-term abortions."We continue to believe this law is terribly flawed and terribly damaging to women and we have to do what we must to serve the people who need those services," said Judy Mann, the group's president.
Her organization had asked the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago to issue a temporary restraining order against the law.
It appealed after U.S. District Judge John Shabaz of Madison last week refused to issue such an order while Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers challenge the ban's constitutionality.
The appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, said it lacked jurisdiction because a decision like the one made by Shabaz generally is not appealable.
The new law bans a procedure in which a living fetus is partially delivered vaginally and killed, and the delivery then completed.
Physicians convicted of performing such a procedure face life in prison. The only exception is if no other medical action would save a woman's life.
Wisconsin abortion clinics halted abortions after the law took effect last Thursday. They contend the law is so vaguely worded that a doctor could go to prison for performing an abortion early in a pregnancy - the type of abortion that has been legal for 25 years.
A Milwaukee clinic resumed operations last weekend after getting assurances from the local district attorney that he would not use the law to prosecute for early-term abortions. Madison's district attorney made a similar pledge this week.
Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, was "extremely elated" the ban will stay in effect.
"Certainly everyone understands that this is a horrendous act that should not be tolerated in our state," Lyons said.
A hearing is set June 10 before Shabaz on a request for a preliminary injunction aimed at halting the law.