Options for Wisconsinites seeking abortion remain but health experts say not ideal

MADISON, Wis. – It an instant the options for Wisconsinites seeking an abortion have been limited to just two, either go to another state to get a surgical procedure done or take a set of pills for a self managed abortion.

On Friday the U.S. Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v Wade leaving 26 states including Wisconsin facing near or total bans on abortion.

RELATED: U.S. Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade, abortion now illegal in Wisconsin

That same day, leaders from Planned Parenthood said there were 70 people waiting on abortions but with Wisconsin’s pre civil-war ear abortion law back in effect they had to cancel them.

“I had to look people in the eye and turn them away when they were seeking abortions,” said the groups Medical Director Dr. Kathy King fighting back tears.

For their part Planned Parenthood will continue to provide people with informational, financial and pre-abortion clinical support hoping to limit capacity issues they expect to rise in states seeing an influx of new patients.

RELATED: Planned Parenthood WI to refer abortion patients to partners in Illinois if Roe overturned

This means help with things like ultrasounds and blood tests so people are able to date their pregnancy or determine if they have any health conditions that might prevent them from being able to access an abortion.

The group will also help with travel expenses and child care for people looking to get a procedure in states like Illinois or Minnesota with more protective abortion laws.

“We really want to make sure that patients are getting all the support they need in Wisconsin before they travel somewhere else,” said Planned Parenthood Executive Director Mike Murray. “That they’re not spending an entire day of their time finding childcare or taking time off work and traveling only to be turned away.” 

Planned Parenthood will also be able to provide people with information on self managed abortions. Though they won’t be able to dispense the necessary drugs themselves, they are able to guide users through the process.

The FDA approved pills however aren’t available at any local pharmacy and even before the overturning of Roe doctors in Wisconsin could only administer them to patients in a clinic setting but now that isn’t an option.

Instead people will need to order the two pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, the first to effectively cause a miscarriage and the later to manage the aftermath, online on sites like AidAccess but that can take up to three weeks.

According to health experts, when used correctly, the pills are about as safe and effective as a surgical abortion but have a shorter gestational limit at 11 weeks.

Still for UW Health OBGYN Dr. Eliza Bennett that isn’t ideal, believing many people would desire and benefit from having a physician to be able turn to for assistance.

“It’s a sad day when in the United States a country with many many resources that people are going to be relegated to self managing their healthcare,” she said.

Doctors also recommend people proceed with caution when purchasing abolition pills online and rely on guidance from groups like Planned Parenthood.

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