The state Department of Justice has agreed to a settlement with Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin over its legal bills.
The state will spend $1.6 million to cover Planned Parenthood’s legal expenses for challenging a state abortion law passed by Republicans in 2013. A federal judge in Madison struck down the requirement that doctors performing abortions must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic – a decision later upheld by an appeals court. The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider the case in June, shortly after striking down a similar law passed by Texas.
In a statement, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin President Teri Huyck called the settlement and “expensive bill” for taxpayers, which was the result of a prolonged and unsuccessful attempt to defend unconstitutional barriers to women’s access to safe and legal abortion. “Funds that would be better spent ensuring that women in Wisconsin had access to basic birth control and preventive health care are instead being wasted on unconstitutional restrictions aimed at blocking access to abortion in our state. The Attorney General has spent 2 years appealing one court decision after another striking down Wisconsin’s unnecessary admitting privileges requirement. Federal courts not only found that this law violated the U.S. Constitution but also compromised women’s health in Wisconsin.”
DOJ spokesman Johnny Koremenos said that the Attorney General is the state’s chief legal officer, so he “has a duty to defend and enforce the laws duly enacted by our elected legislature. The Attorney General fulfilled that duty by defending Wisconsin’s laws to the fullest extent in this case.”
Koremons also noted that the state “would not have stipulated to the opposing parties’ attorneys’ fees and costs unless the State thought it was an appropriate amount.”