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Information for abortion patients in Wisconsin
Abortion Providers in Wisconsin
Abortion is legal in Wisconsin up to 20 weeks. There are currently three clinics that provide abortion in Wisconsin:
- Planned Parenthood Madison East Side
- Planned Parenthood, Jackson Street Milwaukee
- Affiliated Medical Services, Milwaukee
These clinics provide medical abortion (the abortion pill) up to 10 weeks into pregnancy and surgical abortion up to 19 weeks. Many women travel to Minnesota and Illinois for abortion care. If you need an abortion after 19 weeks, you now must travel interstate owing to funding cuts and recent laws passed by the Wisconsin legislature.
Telemedicine abortions – when the abortion pill is prescribed over the phone by licensed physicians and delivered by mail – are banned in Wisconsin.
If you are under 18 and need an abortion, you need permission from a parent, foster parent, aunt, uncle, grandparent, or sibling over 25. If this is not an option for you, a judge can excuse you from this requirement. Contact the Law Center for Children & Families for advice.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Crisis Pregnancy Centers, or CPCs, are fake abortion clinics run by anti-choice groups that try to deceive women and talk them out of ending their pregnancy. They are usually placed near abortion clinics and have deceptive names like "Women’s Care Clinic.” Check out our map of crisis pregnancy centers beforeyou make an appointment at a clinic to ensure you receive care from a trusted provider.
A medical abortion (the abortion pill) costs up to $800, while a surgical abortion costs up to $1,500. Be sure to factor in transportation and accommodation costs, as well as childcare and days off from work (if these apply to you).
If you have health insurance, check with your provider to see if they will cover some or all of the costs.
The Madison-based Women’s Medical Fund provides financial assistance to qualifying patients. Your clinic can refer you if you need help to pay for an abortion.
Free AccommodationWe provide free accommodation for women traveling to Madison for an abortion. Guests are offered a private room and meals for two to three nights. All hosts have been trained and vetted to ensure that women are offered a supportive and private environment.
Mandatory Counseling and Ultrasounds
Wisconsin law now states that before you can have an abortion, you must receive counseling and an ultrasound during your first clinical visit. You must then wait at least 24 hours before your provider can perform the abortion during a second clinical visit and/or provide you with abortion drugs.
The person who provides counseling is someone employed by the clinic. They are required by law to say certain things to dissuade you from having an abortion. Remember that the counseling "script” is forced upon them by law and that everyone who works for a provider is interested in serving the needs of you, the patient.
An ultrasound is a type of scan that uses sound waves to create images of tissues located inside the body. It is safe, but it can be invasive. Your ultrasound will be performed at the clinic and often happens at the same time as the state-mandated counseling. If you are in the early stages of pregnancy the ultrasound is usually done transvaginally. This means that instead of an ultrasound scanner being used on the outside of the abdomen, a smaller scanner will be inserted into the vagina. This is uncomfortable and awkward, but it shouldn’t hurt. The person providing the ultrasound will be as gentle as possible. The provider is then required to show you the image of the fetus and point out its size and shape. You can look away, but law requires that you must still listen to the description.
After the ultrasound and counselling, you need to state aloud to the clinician that you still want an abortion. Your second appointment can happen no earlier than 24 hours later. You can decide not to have an abortion at any point during this process, and your clinic can go over other options with you, including parenting and adoption. Don’t be shy about stating what you want, and always ask any questions you may have.
Is Abortion Safe?
Yes. Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures performed in America. Research by the Guttmacher Institute found that:
"Abortions performed in the first trimester pose virtually no long-term risk of such problems as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or birth defect, and little or no risk of preterm or low-birth-weight deliveries.”
Any medical procedure comes with risks, and the later in pregnancy the abortion happens, the higher the risk of complications. Your provider will be able to discuss any risk factors and possible complications with you at your first appointment.