2016 Rewind: High court win for abortion rights in high stakes year

Lisa Neff, Staff writer

The U.S. Supreme Court struck down two Texas laws restricting access to abortion in the state. The ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt was 5-3.

Wisconsin state Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa, D-Milwaukee, welcomed the decision as “an incredible victory for women’s reproductive rights and a setback to the Republicans’ unrelenting war on women.”

She said, “The now-unconstitutional provisions of this Texas law would have required physicians who provide abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic and would have also imposed regulations requiring clinics that provide abortions to become ambulatory surgical centers. Medical experts say that these two provisions would provide no medical value and will actually harm women by delaying access to medical care.”

After the June decision from the justices, restrictions in Wisconsin, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona and Oklahoma were blocked.

Planned Parenthood and other groups for abortion rights also sued in 2016 to overturn medically unnecessary abortion restrictions in Alaska, Missouri and North Carolina.

“We are going to fight back state by state and law by law until every person has the right to pursue the life they want, including the right to decide to end a pregnancy,” said Dr. Raegan McDonald-Mosley, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

Honoring its centennial in October, Planned Parenthood launched a yearlong #100YearsStrong campaign with a celebration in New York City, where Margaret Sanger opened the first clinic in 1916.

CDC: Abortion rates fall

The number and rate of abortions tallied by federal authorities fell to their lowest level in decades, according to new data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC report suggests there are several factors behind the decline, including a sharp drop in adolescent pregnancies, expanded coverage of contraception costs by health care plans and increased use of effective, long-lasting contraceptive methods such as intrauterine devices and hormonal implants.

The last time the CDC recorded a lower abortion rate was in 1971, two years before the Roe v. Wade decision that established a nationwide right for women to have abortions. Abortion was legal in some states at that time.

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2016 Rewind: Another deadly year for Milwaukee

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2016 Rewind: U.S. court overturns Wisconsin legislative maps

2016 Rewind: Another challenging environmental year for Wisconsin

2016 Rewind: Another year, another WEDC scandal

2016 Rewind: The stand at Standing Rock

2016 Rewind: More black lives lost

2016 Rewind: Tragedy at Pulse, but love overcomes hate

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2016 Rewind: Dreams deferred, deportations threatened