According to a new report by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the number of abortions in Wisconsin increased by 3.7 percent in 2017 over the previous year’s total.

Heather Weininger, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life, said the increase is not a surprise.

“After a brand-new, state-of-the-art abortion clinic opened in Milwaukee’s trendy Third Ward we should have all been on high alert that abortions were soon to be on the upward climb,” Weininger said in a statement Thursday.

Weininger said that despite the complaints by Planned Parenthood, access to abortion is not being restricted.

“For too many years, Planned Parenthood was seeing a decline in their revenue and they were ready at every turn to reverse the downturn in profits,” Weininger said. “For years we have heard Planned Parenthood saying the pro-life movement is limiting access to abortion. It looks like the abortion industry has gotten what it wanted: More unborn babies being murdered, and more women who will suffer the devastating consequences of abortion.”

The rate of women ages 15-44 having abortions in Wisconsin remained the same at 5.2 per 1000. That’s still well below the national average of 12.1 per 1000, using the year 2014 as the latest available figure. However, the ratio of abortions to live births climbed in 2017  from 9.1 per 100 to 9.4 per 100.

The abortion numbers come at a difficult time for the pro-life movement in Wisconsin. Governor-elect Tony Evers promised on the campaign trail to provide taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood, even comparing abortion to a tonsillectomy. Evers recently appointed Tanya Atkinson, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, to a health care advisory committee.

Weininger warned that the numbers for 2018 will probably not be any better.

“Planned Parenthood is now open in Sheboygan, where their main focus is RU-486 abortions,” Weininger said. “While your taxpayer dollars might not be paying directly for these abortions, they are being used to promote Planned Parenthood to women and promote the falsehood that abortion is their only alternative.”

Dan Miller, Executive Director of Pro-Life Wisconsin, said in a statement Tuesday the numbers mean Wisconsin needs to explore new ways to end abortion.

“The pro-life movement is such a unique battleground for social justice – a battle inside the womb,” Miller said. “It is not our rights that we are defending, but those who are utterly defenseless and always innocent. Let us recommit to making abortion illegal and unthinkable.”

Miller said the pro-life community will need to redouble its efforts to “stop abortion wherever it is being promoted.”

“People must rise up at their school boards, churches, local, state and federal governments to push back on the culture of death,” Miller said. “If not you, then who? If not now, when?”