Planned Parenthood sues Wisconsin over telemedicine abortion ban

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin filed a lawsuit Jan. 16 challenging a state law that prohibits patients from obtaining an abortion via telemedicine.

The lawsuit targets three provisions in Wisconsin's abortion law:

  1. Physician-only restriction, which states that only physicians are allowed to conduct abortions.
  2. Same-physician restriction, which states that the same physician who performed the pre-abortion physical examination must also perform the abortion. It also mandates a 24-hour waiting period between the two visits.
  3. Physical-presence restriction, which states that the physicians must be physically present when performing a medication abortion.

In the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin wrote that the physician-presence restriction "unjustifiably prohibits prescribing clinicians from using telemedicine to provide medication abortion care," citing that: "(a) Wisconsin medical professionals routinely use telemedicine to treat conditions that are more severe and require more complex and in-depth assessment and medical intervention than medication abortions; (b) clinicians in numerous other states use telemedicine to provide medication abortion care; (c) peer-reviewed studies and leading medical and health authorities have confirmed that clinicians can use telemedicine to safely and effectively provide medication abortion; (d) [advanced practice nurse prescribers] at [Planned Parenthood Wisconsin] already offer a variety of medical services by telemedicine, including prescribing medications that are similar in risk level to the drugs required for medication abortion; and (e) physicians and APNPs could provide medication abortion care in a process using telemedicine that is virtually identical to how medication abortion care is provided now by onsite staff."

Tanya Atkinson, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, issued the following statement about the lawsuit:

"Deciding to start a family, delay becoming a parent or ending a pregnancy are some of the most personal decisions a woman could make. PPWI is challenging these restrictions because they interfere with a woman's ability to make her own healthcare decisions and make it more difficult to access the care she needs.

"These restrictions are unconstitutional because they place unnecessary barriers in the way of women seeking healthcare. They are not based in health or safety. They exist only to limit access to safe abortion care in Wisconsin, and that is why we are launching this legal challenge."

More articles on telehealth:

Teladoc launches 'Teladoc Back Care': 3 things to know
Sanford Health, VC firms invest $33M in telehealth startup Tyto Care
How to establish a patient-physician relationship via telemedicine, according to the American College of Physicians

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