Standing Together May 2022

Page 1


Spring 2022

Take Care • Give Care

What’s Inside: A Message for this Moment from Tanya Atkinson Get Informed Make a Plan — Abortion Access Outreach Compassionate Abortion Care Current Threats to Abortion Access in Wisconsin

On January 22, 1973, the landmark US Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade struck down a Texas abortion ban — in turn legalizing abortion care across the country. In 2022, as we face challenges to abortion access, PPWI will get patients the care they need. No matter what.

Photo by Michael Snowden

An Open Letter from a PPWI Physician about Abortion Laws

This reality coupled with your unwavering, generational support and determination to support the mission — no matter what — once again, fortifies our collective resolve to be there for patients. Indeed, because of what is at stake and your enduring support, you know what it is to be scrappy. A scrappiness that has prepared us and built us for this very moment — for this dark, unforgiving storm.

Dear extraordinarily incredible friends, Growing up on a farm, you learn to be scrappy. The best kind of scrappy is always derived from facing reality head-on. The reality is, with Roe v. Wade hanging in the balance, there is a storm on the horizon like we’ve never seen before. It is dark. It has the potential to be life upending. It will have an inequitable impact for the most vulnerable. This is a particularly difficult reality because of the potentially devastating impact on the people we know, we care for and we love. People like Liz:

“When I found out I was pregnant, I was ecstatic. After the twenty-week ultrasound, a doctor came in and said our baby had a kidney disease and wouldn’t be able to breathe. When the diagnosis was confirmed, my husband and I looked at each other and knew immediately abortion was the only thing to do.” Or Donna:

“My stepfather abused me from age 8 to 17. At 15, I became pregnant…” Or Madeline:

“I didn’t think I was ready for sex, but my boyfriend pushed it. Rape feels too strong, but it wasn’t really consensual. I didn’t think about the whole condom thing…” Every day, people make decisions about their pregnancies for reasons that are deeply personal. Here is an important reality to understand: banning abortions does not stop them in Wisconsin or in any other state. It only makes them unsafe.

It is going to take us working together to navigate these next difficult months leading up to and after the Supreme Court’s decision on Dobbs v. Jackson. The Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin team joins you in your determination and courage as evidenced by the fierce warrior team members staring back at you from the cover of this newsletter with hearts focused on one thing – Care. No Matter What. Let me assure you that no stone is being left unturned as the assault against reproductive rights intensifies and the ripple effect of decisions made in Texas are now impacting nearly every state in our country. In the midst of this unfolding storm, there was an unexpected, unanticipated, unsolicited phone call in which your decades long dedication and support of the mission was recognized. That call came from MacKenzie Scott’s organization with the unbelievable news of a $17 million unrestricted gift to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. One of the many reasons cited for MacKenzie selecting PPWI for her transformational gift was the organization’s dedication to providing care through a health equity lens. In a recent New York Times article on MacKenzie’s giving, the reporter links a line MacKenzie penned in one of her novels back to the transformational gifts she’s making to organizations across the globe, stating: “She had become important with no blacktie fundraisers and no velvet dresses.” This underscores how important you are, every time you make a gift to Planned Parenthood whether it’s $17 or $17 million. It’s why every single important gift to the successful Be Visible capital campaign is being recognized in the soon to be revealed donor recognition artwork created for the Water Street health center by internationally recognized Wisconsin artist Niki Johnson. Among the unrelenting assault on reproductive health care freedoms, here are the realities I

know for certain. The days and months ahead will be arduous. They will require fortitude. They may even require a little extra courage to speak up and out when it’s not easy or comfortable. They most definitely will require a strong back, lots and lots of genuine care, and a heart rooted in love. There’s

something else I know – I know you. I know us as a collective. We were built for this historic moment. Stay strong,

Tanya Atkinson, President & CEO

P.S. Want your own 1973 t-shirt to help you engage in conversation about what’s at stake? Scan the code or visit, where you’ll find an order form and talking points to engage in meaningful conversation – YOU were built for this.

Follow Tanya Atkinson on Facebook and LinkedIn

Get Informed, Make a Plan — Patient and Community Awareness Program

PPWI and Planned Parenthood Federation of America have dedicated teams working to address abortion access in Wisconsin and across the US. As part of this work, PPWI is working 24/7 encouraging people to get informed, using traditional and social media channels. Utilizing a Community Centric strategy, team members are engaging with community leaders and organizations to help get the word out about the importance of planning ahead should Roe fall. In addition to media and community outreach, PPWI is distributing “Make-a-Plan” kits to patients. The kits include condoms, an at-home pregnancy test, emergency contraception, and birth control information.

Our Doors Are Open



If you are not planning to be pregnant, talk to Planned Parenthood to find an affordable birth control method that works for you.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is here to help – no matter what.

Our doors are open. If abortion is banned in Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood will continue to help patients find and access safe and legal abortion care.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s doors will remain open and Learn more at: together we will continue to help get patients the care they need. This includes helping patients access safe abortion care where it remains legal. It’s important that patients and communities in Wisconsin know that PPWI is their first stop for reproductive health care — including abortion. PPWI is working closely with our affiliate counterparts in neighboring states and areas to help patients in Wisconsin get the abortion care they need.

of Wisconsin, Inc.

Actions You Can Take Now. Visit to: • Become a walking billboard: Order a 1973 t-shirt as a conversation starter with your network. • Use your megaphone: Download the talking points to engage in meaningful conversations • Designate your donation to the Justice Fund at


In the face of these challenges, PPWI understands the importance of taking care of ourselves, to in turn, give care to others. Here’s a look at some of the ways PPWI has been enhancing care, improving health outcomes, providing educational resources, and advancing the mission to keep Wisconsin Safe, Healthy, and Strong.

Thank you for all the ways you take care and give care to the patients and communities who rely on PPWI.

Compassionate Abortion Care — Those who work in abortion care impact people’s lives in deeply profound ways. Showing up every day for their patients, with love and compassion, and without judgment. Despite protestors, the stress of the current political environment, and even a pandemic, PPWI’s Abortion Services Team bring their very best selves to work — to give care, to listen, to hug, or to hold a patient’s hand and tell them, ‘It’s going to be ok.’ The compassion with which they provide care changes people’s lives. PPWI is incredibly grateful for our amazing Abortion Services Team. While abortion access is tenuous right now in Wisconsin, our doors remain open. There will be people in need of abortion care whether they can access it in Wisconsin or not. PPWI’s Abortion Services Team will be there — on the front lines, helping patients navigate access to the care they need. Together we will never stop fighting for patients and the right to access safe, legal abortion in Wisconsin. No matter what. “When I needed an abortion, I was scared. Added to my anxiety about the procedure, I had to walk through protesters alone, which made me feel so vulnerable, violated, and even angry because this — my life and my future — was none of their business. “After my procedure the staff in the recovery room treated me with so much compassion, I will remember their kindness forever. It was tough day for me emotionally, and they saw me through it.”

“The staff at Planned Parenthood were nothing short of amazing. They made me extremely comfortable and I can’t thank them enough. Some of the nicest people I have ever met.”

“I’m grateful that you are fighting to protect access to and training for providers to learn about abortion care. That training and your advocacy made it possible for me to get a D&C when I lost my “When I had just turned 16, I found out I pregnancy in the 14th week. People don’t think was pregnant. Fortunately, I lived an hour about how invaluable your work is until they are from a Planned Parenthood clinic. I believe in the position of an unexpected decision. Planned Parenthood changed the entire Thank you for everything you do to be there for course of my life, and I continued to get women and families.” birth control, pap smears, STI testing, and condoms over the next decades. THANK YOU Planned Parenthood for all you do.”

Do you have a Planned Parenthood story you would like to share? Visit

Current Threats to Abortion Access in Wisconsin* Abortion is a deeply personal, private decision that each person must be able to make for themselves based on their own values, responsibilities, and life circumstances. Unfortunately, this essential care too often becomes a game of partisan politics — one in which real people with real lives stand to lose.

Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Update: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health: In December of 2021, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments challenging a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks. This law is in direct conflict with Roe v. Wade. Planned Parenthood is concerned that the Court’s balance has shifted and may be poised to overturn Roe v. Wade with this ruling. A decision is expected in June or July of this year.

Abortion Access: This is a REAL and SIGNIFICANT threat to abortion access. Access to safe and legal abortion is at risk in 26 states, including Wisconsin, threatening 40 million women nationwide. Wisconsin’s 172-year-old law criminalizes abortion at any point in pregnancy with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the pregnant person. This law could go into effect immediately if Roe is overturned.

Wisconsin Legislative Threats: Wisconsin already has numerous medically-unnecessary laws governing abortion care. Yet legislators continue trying to create barriers to care, introducing 11 new restrictions on abortion and other reproductive health care in the past legislative session — recently Wisconsin SB 923. Wisconsin SB 923, a Texas-style copycat bill, was introduced in February of 2022. The bill allows anyone — even a complete stranger — to file a $10,000 lawsuit against any provider who performs an abortion after 6 weeks of pregnancy. Fortunately, this bill failed due to lack of support in the Assembly.

Texas SB 8: On September 1, 2021, a law in Texas went into effect, banning abortion after six weeks — before most people know they are pregnant. The law encourages private citizens to sue anyone who helps another person receive an abortion — and claim a $10,000 bounty. It also is a model for other states inacting similar laws. For eight months, this has had a devastating effect for people in Texas who are seeking abortions — forcing them to travel hundreds of miles and significantly delaying their care. Planned Parenthood, the National Abortion Federation, and other partner organizations are working together to help patients in Texas access abortion in other states — through patient navigators, direct funding support, assistance with travel and lodging, and more. *This information is up-to-date as of 4/23/2022

Who these laws impact U.S. Abortion Patients1 INCOME: 75% poor or low income RELIGION: 62% religiously affiliated FAMILY SIZE: 59% already have a child

RACE: 39% White 28% Black 25% Hispanic 6% Asian/ Pacific Islander 3% Other

Age: 60% are in their 20s (only 12% are teens, of which 4% are minors) Source: Guttmacher Institute 2016


An Open Letter from a PPWI Physician about Abortion Laws By: Allison Linton, MD, MPH, Associate Medical Director, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin — Appeared in the online edition of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from January 25 to February 25, 2022

I am a doctor who provides abortions. I don’t share this fact widely in areas where I don’t know my audience well, whether that be on an airplane or on social media. I often go with a generic “I’m an OBGYN” partly due to safety concerns (yes, I have been threatened both at my clinic and at my home), but also because I worry about making the other person uncomfortable by bringing up what may be a very sensitive or emotionally charged topic. Deciding if or when to become a parent is one of the most personal and life-changing decisions many of us will make. It is not a conversation one enters casually, and I understand that people have differing views about abortion. But as we approach potentially the final anniversary of Roe v. Wade, I’m realizing that my silence does nothing to help the millions of people who stand to have their reproductive freedom potentially stripped away in the next few months. Perhaps speaking up will.

Abortion saves lives. This is not just a phrase on T-shirts and bumper stickers. This is a fact. As one of the few abortion providers in a tertiary care hospital, I have been called in to help patients with pregnancies before viability experiencing sepsis after their bag of water broke too early or a hemorrhage from a placenta trying to detach — many of whom were transferred from hospitals that would not or could not provide the abortion the patient needed. Emergent abortions saved their lives. I have treated patients with new cancer diagnoses unable to receive treatment while pregnant, with severe heart conditions where continuation of pregnancy would be catastrophic, or with organ dysfunction caused by severely high blood pressure related to pregnancy. Abortions saved their lives. I have cared for individuals who were being trafficked, were raped, or were in abusive relationships where the thought of continuing a pregnancy was leading to thoughts of suicide. In all of these cases, abortions saved their lives.

No one plans to have an abortion. I have met with thousands of patients seeking abortion services, and I promise not a single one planned to be there. Life happens. Circumstances change. Complications arise. You don’t know that you’ll need an abortion until you need an abortion. I assure you — you don’t know what you would do, even if you think you do. While people may have differing views about abortion, most of us can agree that we’d want to be able to make our own medical decisions and to access the health care we need when we need it.

Restricting or banning abortion will not stop abortion. Many of us were not alive or are not old enough to remember what accessing abortion was like prior to 1973 when Roe v. Wade was decided. Whether you “believe” in abortion or not, the ability to access abortion if you, or a partner, or a friend needs it, has been something many of us have been able to take for granted. But if you talk with doctors who practiced before Roe or read their books and essays, you realize abortion prohibitions didn’t stop abortion, they just made them more dangerous. Entire wards in the hospital were dedicated to individuals who were sick after unsafe abortions. Pregnant patients died regularly from infection and hemorrhage. Their bodies were scarred from desperate attempts to end their pregnancies — stabbing a sharp object into their vagina, or inserting bleach, acid or other corrosive materials that would burn and erode their vaginal tissues. People who do not want to be pregnant will find a way to not be pregnant. Some will be able to afford to travel to a nearby state where safe abortion is accessible. Others will not be so lucky. Due to an archaic, 172-year-old ban on the books, abortion in Wisconsin could be banned without exception for rape, incest or health of the pregnant person immediately if Roe is overturned. I care for patients daily who will be harmed by more abortion restrictions. With only four clinics providing abortions in our state, patients already move heaven and earth to access abortion care, and any further restrictions make this harder.

And Wisconsin is not alone — about half of states in the U.S. are poised to completely ban or severely limit abortion if Roe is weakened or overturned. Unfortunately, it appears likely that an upcoming Supreme Court ruling (expected June or July 2022) will severely gut or overturn Roe outright. Despite the fact that nearly 80% of Americans believe abortion should be legal, our years of complacency have resulted in a Supreme Court that will likely go against the majority of citizens and limit this right. When this happens, it will be up to each individual state to dictate what health care services pregnant patients can receive. And in Wisconsin, unless our law is changed, doctors will be threatened with criminal prosecution and prison time if prosecutors disagree with the medical determination that an abortion was necessary to save the pregnant patient’s life (the only time when an abortion would be allowed under the current law). We have a choice to protect reproductive freedom by repealing Wisconsin’s 172-year-old criminal abortion ban. Now is the time to speak up. We have a choice to protect reproductive freedom by repealing Wisconsin’s 172-year old criminal abortion ban. Talk with others so they know why this issue is important to you. My purpose is not to start arguments or create division. I have a duty to my patients and I write this to inform. The reality is, most of us do not realize just how much these laws and court rulings will have serious consequences for people we love and care about. My patients are your family members, friends and neighbors ... maybe even you. They deserve to have the ability to make their own decisions and access the health care they need. I will continue to do what I can to protect this access. I ask that you do, too.

ANNUAL EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT Save the Date: Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022

Watch for more information about this exciting event. Join us to be a part of history in the making!

About the Cover: Featured on the front cover are Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin team members representing the fierce courage innate in each of you. May this image serve as the needed fortitude for the difficult days ahead. Special thanks to Michael Snowden for his creative eye powerfully capturing the realities of this historic moment.

A Convenient Way to Support PPWI’s Work: Save paper and save the stamp by making your gift online at This is a secure payment site where you can make single or monthly donations. Donations can be made using a credit or debit card, as well as via PayPal or Venmo. Visit or scan this code to donate via your mobile device.

Contact Michael at

302 N. Jackson Street Milwaukee, WI 53202

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