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Wisconsin Watch Article on State Implications of Supreme Court Ruling on Abortion Includes Perspective from Quarles & Brady Attorney Richie Davis

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Quarles & Brady attorney Richie Davis, a Milwaukee-based member of the firm’s Health and Life Sciences Practice Group, was quoted in a Wisconsin Watch article that addresses the challenges facing physicians and health care organizations in the state as they try to determine what pregnancy-related care is allowed under state law, in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning federal abortion rights.

The Supreme Court ruling has left people trying to interpret how to operate under the state’s near-total abortion ban from the 19th century. In the article, Davis offered perspective on the legal parameters being faced by health care providers.

The circumstances under which a person will receive an abortion in Wisconsin will ultimately depend on the health system or hospital — and, when it comes down to it, individual doctors. Even then, the approach will vary case by case.

“Ultimately, the physician(s) actually signing off on or performing the procedure will be responsible for defending its necessity,” says Richie Davis, an attorney with Quarles and Brady, in an email to Wisconsin Watch. The firm has advised Wisconsin health systems and physicians on how to provide care without violating the law. “Liability will turn on the facts and circumstances surrounding the specific patient.”

“The Wisconsin law is rather ambiguous, and a reasonable clinical disagreement on medical necessity can expose a physician to potential criminal liability,” Davis says. “Even if a physician can win at trial and avoid criminal liability, that same physician may be arrested, detained with a high bail, suffer public shame and effectively have their practice destroyed for performing an abortion which they believed was medically necessary to save the life of the mother.”

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