Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed harsh restrictions on abortion into law on Friday, setting the stage for a court battle with pro-choice groups over the new requirements.
The new law would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of where a procedure is done and mandates ultrasounds for all women before they can get an abortion.
Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services has already filed a suit challenging the law, arguing that it violates the Constitution’s guarantee of due process. Women in Wisconsin are already forced to listen to a presentation and wait for 24 hours between that appointment and actually getting an abortion.
Two of the four clinics in the state have said that they would have to shut down because of the law, leaving Wisconsin’s women with dramatically reduced options for essential reproductive care, particularly in the large rural part of the state.
Supporters of the law have argued that the regulations will help women make more informed choices and increase safety, although there is no evidence that requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges actually makes the procedure safer. When done in proper medical conditions, abortion is safer than childbirth.
Wisconsin is now one of eight states that requires doctors who perform abortions to have hospital admitting privileges. Earlier this week, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a budget that included some of the country's most stringent anti-abortion measures, and legislators in Texas are in the midst of a second special session called by Gov. Rick Perry to debate a bill that would close nearly all the state's abortion clinics. The North Carolina state Senate also passed a host of new restrictions this week amid loud protests.