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Planned Parenthood to close Appleton clinic after Act 37 signing

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Last week, Gov. Scott Walker signed Act 37 into law -- requiring women undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion. Pro-choice groups in Wisconsin say they're fighting the law with everything they have, while pro-life groups say the law will allow women to be better informed when deciding whether to go through with an abortion.

Those who are pro-choice say the state has no business getting involved in something so private -- especially when it does nothing to protect the people involved.

Act 37 states abortion providers must give women a description of the ultrasound images, including the dimensions of the unborn child, as well as any external features and internal organs that are visible on the image.

However, the woman cannot be forced to look at the images.

"Women are already informed. We go through a lengthy informed consent process, as does every other provider, so it's totally unnecessary," Teri Huyck, president of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said.

"It's a wonderful measure. It's going to have national implications because other states are looking to see what they can do to protect women and unborn children," Susan Armacost, Legislative Director for Wisconsin Right to Life said.

The law also requires that in order to legally perform an abortion, a doctor must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the abortion will occur.

Planned Parenthood says that provision will force its Appleton clinic to close, and will lead to long waiting lists in Milwaukee.

"If there's a long waiting list, that's a real problem for women getting access. It's a problem for their health. It can lead to tragic consequences. Just the sheer distance is a tremendous barrier," Huyck said.

"If women don't have a physician that can be with her during complications and can't get admitting privileges, that speaks to how poorly that doctor may be viewed by that hospital,"  Armacost said.

Planned Parenthood says the law will have an immediate impact. It is preparing to close its Appleton clinic on Monday.

Both Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Wisconsin have filed lawsuits hoping the courts will find that Act 37 violates a woman's constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade.

Wisconsin Right to Life says it is confident the bill will be upheld.

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