La Crosse women’s shelter director fears Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban could increase pregnancies among minors

Planned Parenthood of Western Wisconsin is currently giving patients information about how to get an abortion in other states such as Illinois or Minnesota.

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — Ann Kappauf, Executive Director of New Horizons Shelter and Outreach Centers in La Crosse, spoke about the impact that a lack of abortion access can have on female survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

“We could have children 8, 9 or 10 years old becoming pregnant,” Kappauf said. “That makes my heart hurt, for children,” she added.

Kappauf says under Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban, which makes no exceptions for rape or incest, there could be an increase in minors becoming pregnant. She estimates that roughly 32,000 rapes result in pregnancy every year in the United States.

“Five percent of rapes end up in pregnancy,” added Kappauf.

Last Friday, Democratic State Rep. Jill Billings said that under Wisconsin’s current, 173-year-old abortion ban, an 11-year-old would be forced to carry a baby to term.

“Those are incredibly high-risk pregnancies,” Billings said.

Patty Haines, a registered nurse from Waukesha, said a lack of abortion access can be life-threatening. She said she’s concerned about low-income women not having the access they need.

“I feel sorry for women, especially low-income women who can’t afford to go elsewhere. I think this is endangering their life,” she said.

On Monday, Kappauf said the striking down of Roe V. Wade allows perpetrators of sexual violence to have more power over victims.

“I think we’re just allowing perpetrators to have more power over a person’s body, more control over a person,” she said.

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